Demurrage claims - charterparty time bar reminder

22 May 2008

A recent English High Court case - Waterfront Shipping Co Ltd -v- Trafigura AG considered a tanker charterparty which provided that any claim by Owners for demurrage would be time-barred unless submitted to Charterers within 90 days of completion of discharge accompanied by "all supporting documentation". The judgement has emphasised that the High Court in London expects strict adherence with such provisions. An Owner failing to comply fully with all of the charterparty requirements for the provision of supporting documents - even those they consider 'unnecessary' or 'a mere technicality' - risks forfeiting the entire demurrage claim.

Moreover, time bar provisions of this sort are not limited to tanker charterparties. Owners should be aware of the prospect of charterers in all trades, as well as bunker suppliers, attempting to impose similarly strict limits on the submission of claims. Further, Owners should also note that, as in the case referred to above, not all the requirements with which the Owners have to comply will necessarily be set out in one comprehensive clause.

A careful reading of the whole charterparty both when fixing and prior to dealing with post fixture claims is required if Owners are to avoid falling foul of such clauses.

A more detailed note on the case in question can be accessed by clicking here.