English High Court judgment on "The Eternity"

19 November 2008

An earlier News Alert entitled Demurrage Claims Charterparty Time Bar Reminder reported the decision of the English High Court in Waterfront Shipping Company Ltd v Trafigura AG [2007] EWHC 2482 (Comm) (the Sabrewing) in which the Court considered a charterparty clause which provided that demurrage claims would be time barred unless submitted to charterers, together with ALL supporting documentation, within 90 days of completion of discharge.

In The Sabrewing, the Court held that Owners failure to submit the claim and supporting documentation as required by the charterparty within the limitation period meant that the demurrage claim was time-barred in its entirety, even though the missing documents referred only to part of the claim.

However, Ince & Co have produced for the Club a note on a recent case, The Eternity, in which the High Court considered a materially identical charterparty provision and reached a different conclusion.

The same judgment also considered two preliminary issues in relation to Owners liability for a significant cargo contamination claim that may have been caused by a failure by the crew to ensure that the vapour from two incompatible cargoes could not pass through a common inert gas line. The Owners argued unsuccessfully that they should be permitted potentially to avoid liability by relying upon the error in management of the vessel defence in the HagueVisby Rules.

Ince & Cos case note is attached and the judgment can be accessed by clicking here.

Further advice on any of the issues covered in The Eternity can be obtained from either michael.volikas@incelaw.com or carrie.angell@incelaw.com 

Vapour contamination through inert gas lines has been covered in issues 22 and 44 of StopLoss, which are available for download on this website.