Voyage Charters. Laycan: Notice to narrow. Last updated 22-May-2015

It is not necessary to say that the owners could obtain no conceivable benefit from a narrowing of the laydays but one can say with considerable confidence that any disadvantage they might theoretically suffer from the laydays not being narrowed would be a disadvantage which could be compensated in damages.
Bulk Carriers Ltd v Andre Et Cie SA [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 459, per Longmore J.

Notice to narrow or move the laycan

When charterparty provides for a notice to nominate or to narrow laycan spread, then such notice is rather obligation than option, see LJ Clarke in Bulk Carriers Ltd v Andre Et Cie SA [2001] EWCA Civ 588 at para17:

As the judge correctly pointed out, the parties were able to provide expressly for an option if they wished to do so. Most strikingly, they did so in clause 40 which provided for the charterers to have the option to "wash out" the nominated voyage, in which event they were to declare the exercise of the option "on the day when narrowing of laycan is due". That must, I think, be a reference to the narrowing of laycan in clause 42. Again, as the judge pointed out, the words "to be" in the phrase, "to be narrowed" naturally import an obligation of some kind rather than an option. Indeed, the words "to be" are used throughout the charterparty to import obligations. See also to the same effect The Didymi [1984] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 583 per Sir John Donaldson MR at 587, where he said that the words "to be narrowed" suggests a duty to narrow, albeit one which contains an option within it. In these circumstances I agree with the judge that clause 42 does not confer an option on the charterers, but imposes a duty.

This notice, however, is not a condition precedent to the owner’s duty to nominate a vessel. Because the owners could obtain no conceivable benefit from a narrowing of the laydays, there is only theoretically disadvantage they may suffer compensated in damages.

Notice to narrow laycan spread in most cases would also identify both the loading port and the cargo. Therefore, following The Jasmine B [1992] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 39 and Union Transport v Continental Wines [1992] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 229 decisions, the effect of the notice trimming the laycan period will be treated similarly to nomination of loading or discharging ports and nomination of the vessel by the owners, i.e. as originally been written into the charter and irrevocable – neither the owners nor the charterer has neither the right nor the obligation to change those particulars.

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