Stolt Tankers v. Landmark
The owners said that the arbitrators had not paid proper regard to the cause of the vessel's delay, which was congestion at the berth. The operations they had conducted had not caused any additional delay to the vessel. The charterers contended that in order to be entitled to claim demurrage, the shipowners were obliged to have the vessel ready and available to load or discharge. The owners replied that time would be interrupted only where the vessel had been rendered unavailable through their "fault". í
(1) The "wider principle" recognised by Evans J in Ellis Shipping Corp. v. Voest Alpine Intertrading (the "Lefthero") should be applied in this case, whereby if actions of the owners for their own purposes rendered a vessel unavailable for cargo operations, it was natural to regard that in itself as preventing the loading or discharge of the vessel and ‘as a cause of any delay in cargo operations’.
(2) It was not necessary to show that the owners’ actions had in fact caused a delay in cargo operations.
(3) Demurrage was payable because the shipowners, having agreed freight to cover the voyage and an agreed time for loading and discharging processes, faced serious losses if this time was exceeded. The charterers agreed to compensate them for these losses by way of demurrage. If a vessel was not available for the charterers' cargo operations but was being used by the owners for their own purposes, there was no reason why the charterers should pay compensation. The charterers were not detaining her.
The appeal was dismissed.
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