In the newsletter No. 4 we mentioned that we had been asked to arbitrate on a dispute concerning “awaiting daylight” under the terms of EXXONVOY90. This c/p states that on an inward passage time awaiting daylight is excluded from laytime or demurrage. The question was whether this was still the case if the ship was first delayed by jetty congestion. When the berth became free it was too late to berth until daylight on the next morning. Initially, we thought that Exxon and BP had rather differing interpretations of very similar clauses in their respective EXXONVOY90 and BEEPEEVOY3 charter parties. However, after some discussion with various lawyers, both in-house and external, the final opinion of Exxon and BP was the same and we were able to complete the arbitration. The conclusion was that if a vessel is delayed initially by, for example, berth congestion, and then, when the berth becomes free, it has to await daylight before berthing, the charterer can still rely on the exceptions in Clause 14 (b) (ii) and (v) of EXXONVOY90 or Clause 20 of BEEPEEVOY3. The time lost awaiting daylight will not count as used laytime. This is the result of the construction of the charter parties and the question of what is fair is not relevant.
The position under SHELLVOY5 is different. There, according to Clause 13 (1) (a), if night berthing is prohibited and an NOR is tendered at night, laytime will not run until 6 hours after the port is open for traffic and the berth is accessible. However, once laytime has commenced there is no deduction for awaiting daylight.
Please contact us if you need any clarification on these points.
We understand that a hearing in The Court of Appeal is scheduled for October. N.B. The High Court’s decision was summarised in our newsletter No.3.
Over the last three years we have completed a number of demurrage projects for oil and trading companies, using our own contract staff. These jobs have involved resolving backlogs of outstanding claims, covering for staff shortages, and demurrage training. We maintain a pool of highly experienced analysts, capable of handling claims and problems on a wide range of topics, not just on demurrage. We will be pleased to quote for short or long term assignments or even part-time, based either in the client company or working from our offices.
We reached the conclusion in a recent arbitration that although the voyage orders allowed the charterer to exercise his rights and options under the charter party, they were not an opportunity for the charterer to impose terms which were not included in the original charter party. Although it was not relevant in the case in question, we note that the charter party sometimes includes a clause to the effect that the voyage orders form an integral part of the charter party. Even then we do not believe that this gives the charterers the right to improve on the original charter or to specify what the penalty will be for failure to carry out their instructions.