Delays after hoses disconnected
This post first appeared in the January 2013 Asdem Newsletter. To see this Newsletter please go to www.asdem.co.uk and look for the ‘Newsletters’ tab
I am often asked what remedy an Owner has if a vessel is delayed at a load or discharge port after hoses have been disconnected. It is common knowledge that most charter parties cover delays in providing documentation at the load port by re-starting time after a delay of two or three hours and finally ending time when documentation is completed. Each charter party says something slightly different so you need to be careful about the wording.
A frequent question that comes up is where a vessel is prevented from sailing because of bad weather and I was alerted to a case where there had been a delay of four days bad weather. Unfortunately laytime and/or demurrage ends at the time that hoses have been disconnected or documents have been delivered so there is not much an owner can do in this case. These delays are considered to be at the risk of the Owner, along with similar delays such as awaiting daylight, tide, tugs or pilots.
What about detention? The delays mentioned above cannot be considered to be detention but where a vessel has been delayed by charterers, the owners may have a case for claiming the time as detention. An example of this may be where the Charterer has not sold the cargo and asks the vessel to remain in port for further instructions. If the port authority detains the vessel for any reason, such a delay is unlikely to qualify as a claim for detention against the charterers.
Is it an unsafe berth/port? If a vessel cannot sail for four days because of bad weather does this make it an unsafe berth or port? If it were proven to be an unsafe port, the owners might be able to claim damages from charterers. It is very difficult to prove that a port is unsafe as a result of weather and it normally takes a lot more than weather conditions to convince a court that a port is unsafe.
In conclusion, most delays after hoses have been disconnected, apart from cargo documents, are at the Owners’ risk. If you have any views or comments to make on this article please add them here.