Yardimci v. Solymar
DMC Category Rating: Confirmed
On completion of discharge, Solymar alleged that the Master of the Yardimci delayed her departure from the berth in order to load replacement parts for the vessel’s damaged shaft generator. As a result, the Stadt Kiel was delayed in re-berthing and part of her cargo could not be loaded in the time allocated to her. The shut-out cargo had to be carried to destination by another vessel, at an increased cost to Solymar of US$40,420. Meanwhile, the parties had agreed to the Yardimci being redelivered at 2000hrs on April 6 2001, alongside the berth in Port Everglades, instead of on dropping the outbound sea pilot.
The Owners of Yardimci commenced arbitration proceedings under
the New York arbitration clause in the charterparty for a balance of hire claim
amounting to US$41,402. The charterers counter-claimed for the US$40,420
expenses incurred as a result of the delay of the Yardimci in leaving the berth
in Port Everglades. The owners contested the counterclaim on the grounds that it
lay in tort, was not therefore within the jurisdiction of the arbitrator and
should be pursued in court. In support of this position, the owners argued
The parties agreed that Mr. Siciliano, acting as sole arbitrator, should determine, as a preliminary issue, whether or not he had jurisdiction to hear the Solymar claim. [Absent such agreement, arbitrators are not allowed, under US law, to determine their own jurisdiction]
The arbitrator also relied on the wording of the arbitration clause itself, which opened with the words ‘Should any dispute arise between Owners and Charterers….’ He found it significant that "the clause does not limit arbitration to claims which only arise during the term of the charterparty. The clause clearly refers to ‘any dispute’ which language I consider sufficiently broad to capture the Charterer’s counter-claim."
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