Shipping – Voyage Charterparty – Asbatankvoy form amended by Vitol’s ‘special provisions’ and Vitol’s general ‘voyage chartering terms’ – Laytime and Demurrage – Whether laytime commenced to run prior to agreed laydays.

this page was last time updated on: 13-Jun-2013

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Cases referring to this case:

Tidebrook Maritime Corporation v Vitol SA of Geneva (The Front Commander) [2006] EWCA Civ 944

For education purposes only

The owners chartered their vessel the Front Commander to Vitol on Asbatankvoy form amended with Vitol’s ‘special provisions’ for the instant charterparty and, additionally, with Vitol’s general ‘voyage chartering terms’. The vessel arrived at loadport and tendered her NOR at 00.01 hours on 8 January 2004 prior to the first day of the laycan which was 9 January 2004. Later same day, 8 January, she was instructed by the terminal to proceed to berth to load, so the vessel left anchorage and proceeded to the berth and was all fast at her loading berth at 1200 hours. Hoses were connected at 1312 hours and loading commenced at 1648 hours on 8 January. Loading was completed at 0736 hours on 10 January; hoses were disconnected at 0842 hours and the vessel sailed from Escravos at 1306 hours on 10 January.

Demurrage was incurred on the voyage, in respect of which owners sent charterers a timely demurrage claim. Footing on Vitol’s Voyage Chartering Terms cl. 33, the owners in their calculation of the laytime used at loadport, gave the charterers credit for 50 per cent of the time between 1200 hours on 8 January (when the vessel was made all fast at her berth) and 0001 hours on 9 January (being the commencement of the laydays and the time at which owners considered laytime would otherwise have commenced).

33. Early Loading Clause. If Charterer permits vessel to tender NOR and berth prior to commencement of laydays, all time from berthing until commencement of laydays to be credited to Charterer against laytime and/or time on demurrage. Saved time to be split 50/50 Owners/Charterers.

Charterers have paid the majority of the demurrage claim but a dispute has arisen concerning part of the claim, since charterers contend that, pursuant to clause 5


5. LAYDAYS. Laytime shall not commence before the date stipulated in Part I, except with the Charterer’s sanction. Should the Vessel not be ready to load by 4:00 o’clock P.M. (local time) on the cancelling date stipulated in Part I, the Charterer shall have the option of cancelling this Charter by giving Owner notice of such cancellation within twenty-four (24) hours after such cancellation date; otherwise this Charter to remain in full force and effect.

6. NOTICE OF READINESS. Upon arrival at customary anchorage at each port of loading or discharge, the Master or his agent shall give the Charterer or his agent notice by letter, telegraph, wireless or telephone that the vessel is ready to load or discharge cargo, berth or no berth, and laytime, as hereinafter provided, shall commence upon the expiration of six (6) hours after receipt of such notice, or upon the Vessel’s arrival in berth (i.e., finished mooring when at a sea loading or discharging terminal and all fast when loading or discharging alongside a wharf), whichever first occurs. However, where delay is caused to Vessel getting into berth after giving notice of readiness for any reason over which Charterer has no control, such delay shall not count as used laytime.

of the standard Asbantakvoy form and additional clause 31, laytime should not start to count prior to 0600 on the first day of the laydays, which was 9 January 2004.

31. Operational Compliance Clause. Owner shall indemnify Charterer for any damages, delays, costs and consequences of not complying with Charterer’s voyage instructions given in accordance with the Charterparty…

The vessel shall not tender Notice of Readiness prior to the earliest layday date specified in this Charterparty and laytime shall not commence before 0600 hours local time on the earliest layday unless Charterer consents in writing.

The charterers also contended that they never gave their consent to laytime commencing prior to 0600 hours on 9 January 2004. Owners argued that such consent was given expressly or impliedly, by the emails sent by charterers or by loading commencing with the knowledge and consent of the charterers.



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