IMC Maritime v. RFCP
In this arbitration conducted under the Rules of the Society of Maritime Arbitrators of New York, the panel held that disponent ownerís claim for demurrage at the discharging port of St. Petersburg in Russia, was in large measure correct, except that laytime could not begin until the vessel reached the in-bound pilot station and became an arrived ship. The panel did not accept Chartererís claim to deduct from laytime substantial periods of bad weather, preferring instead evidence from the vesselís logs Ė and those of other vessels discharging similar cargoes in the port at the same time - as to the extent to which rain interfered with discharging operations. The panel also found that discharge had been delayed by a shortage of rail cars, despite evidence from the Charterer that it had taken extraordinary precautions to avoid delay in discharging from this factor
DMC Category Rating: Confirmed
The vessel loaded her cargo of yellow corn at Ama, Louisiana and proceeded without incident to Russia. On 15 January, she arrived at the outer ice edge off the port of St.Petersburg and, having proceeded as far as practical under these circumstances, she anchored at 1435hrs to await icebreaker assistance and berthing instruction. The Master tendered notice of readiness accordingly. The vesselís position was near fairway buoy No.10, as recommended by the icebreaker "Kapitan Sorokin", approximately 17 miles west of the portís inbound pilot station. Some ten other vessels were also anchored and waiting at this anchorage. The "Adventure 1" remained there until 21 January 2001, when Ė with the assistance of the icebreaker "Ermak" - she proceeded to the inbound pilot station, where she anchored and re-tendered her notice of readiness, "without prejudice" to her earlier notice. On 9 February, she shifted from the anchorage to her discharging berth but did not commence discharge until 14 February. Delayed by bad weather, rail car shortages and Customs formalities, discharge was not completed until 11 March, the vessel sailing for her next commitment around noon that day.
As a result of the long delay at St.Petersburg, IMC calculated that the vessel had earned some 27 days demurrage amounting to US$136,200.00. RFCP refused to pay any demurrage and claimed, on the contrary, that they were due despatch.
The issues between the parties were 1) the time at which laytime began and 2) the extent to which laytime was to be interrupted by periods of bad weather. IMCís calculations were based on the premise that the notice of readiness given on 15 January, when the vessel was anchored at the outer edge of the ice off the port, was valid; and that the only periods of bad weather to be deducted were those recorded in the vesselís logs and corroborated by the log entries from two other unrelated vessels in port, discharging corn for RFCP at the same time. These amounted to 40 hours and 43 minutes. According to IMC, the dominant cause of the delay in discharging was a shortage of rail cars in the port.
RFCP, on the other hand, contended that the notice of readiness given on 15 January was invalid, as the vessel was not an "arrived ship" at the ice edge and further that both notices of readiness given (the one on 15 January and the other on 21 January, on reaching the inbound pilot station) were invalid, since they had been addressed to the wrong party. As a result, laytime did not begin until discharge commenced on 14 February, on which basis, RFCP were due despatch of US$16,632.00. As regards the bad weather periods, RFCP based their calculations on the data from the St.Petersburg station of the official state agency, the Russian Federal Agency for Environmental and Hydrometeorological Monitoring. These showed bad weather deductions of 549 hours 5 minutes.
NOR given to Wrong Party
Rail Car Shortages
As a result, the panel awarded IMC demurrage in the amount of US$93,358, together with interest and an allowance towards costs.
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