Delays after hoses disconnected

3rd January 2013 phil Asdem Newsletters 20 Comments

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.

20 Comments

  1. andrea 4 years Reply

    Hi,
    I actually found really interesting your article, but I was wondering what happens in case of SEA TERMINALS.
    Asbatankvoy clearly states that laytime ( point 11) shall continue until hoses have been disconnected.
    In this case could the owner claim damages for detention because the vessel was waiting shipping docs after hoses disconnection? or should it count as used lyatime?
    what is your opinion on that?

  2. phil 4 years Reply

    Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for your comment and my apologies for the late response. Usually there is an additional clause which will say something like the first two or three hours of the delay for documents will be for Owners account. Any delay beyond the two or three hours agreed will count as laytime, or if the vessel is on demurrage, as demurrage.

    If there is no clause of this nature then laytime will cease at hoses disconnected. If there is a delay for documents after this time then the Owners would be able to claim this delay as detention. For a claim for detention the Owners would have to prove what their losses are, although in practice I would imagine that they would claim this time for detention at the demurrage rate.

    I hope this answers your question, but if I have missed something please add your further comments here

    best regards
    Phil

  3. oli 2 years Reply

    Dear PHIL

    very interesting your above explanation , much thanks
    i would like to ask below cases;
    loading completed/docs done but weather condition not allow vsl departure.
    in this case, possible to count laytime ? or any back up sources or any crash with conoco weather clause ?

  4. phil 2 years Reply

    Thank you for your comment.

    Once loading is completed and documents are on board laytime/demurrage ends. Although you may have a Conoco Weather Clause you would need to ensure that you have some wording to say that laytime/demurrage is extended to cover these delays after loading/docs.

    I hope this is helpful, if you or anyone else reading this post have any further points or questions please post them here.

  5. Tarun Chaudhry 2 years Reply

    Hi
    Whats your take in a case where ship has completed discharge and is removed from SBM to anchorage awaiting documents. Please note no EDP is available.

    Charter Party has a clause which says 3 hours waiting owners account , thereafter charterers account.

    At anchorage she waited for 4 days for documents as bad weather prevented the documents to be handed over to ship.

    On whose account will be this 4 days waiting ?

    bregds

    Tarun Chaudhry

    • Phil Stalley 2 years Reply

      Hi Tarun

      Thanks for your comment.

      On the face of it I think the 4 days waiting (after the expiry of 3 hours for Owners account) is for charterers account. This may be modified depending on the wording of the awaiting document clause and the operation of a weather clause. If delays due to bad weather count at 50/50 the charterers may be able to argue that this delay is to be shared between Owners and Charterers.

      I hope this is helpful. If you have any further thoughts please add them here.

      best regards
      Phil

  6. Dennis Scherpenisse 1 year Reply

    Dear Phil,

    sorry to bother you on this old topic, however, we have exactly such a case. Vessel was loading and during the loading pilotage was suspended due to bad weather. After the documents were on board, the vessel was delayed for more than 1 day due to bad weather.

    As per the Conoco Weather Clause, “any delay after berthing” is to be counted as one half laytime, which we feel applies to the above.

    Pleased to learn your thoughts on this.

    Best regards,

    Dennis

    • hubsewp 1 year Reply

      Hi Dennis

      I believe that once hoses have been disconnected and documents placed on board any delays thereafter are for Owners account. The problem with the Conoco weather Clause (depending on the precise wording as I have seen variations) is that it refers to laytime or demurrage and time ceases at hoses off/docs on board. You need to modify the weather clause to ensure that in the event of delays preventing sailing that time is restarted, much in the same way as a waiting documents clause, as by the time hoses are disconnected and docs placed on board time ceases and any time cannot be counted at half.

      Not the answer you want but maybe you can change the wording for next time perhaps?

      Best regards
      Phil

  7. Danny 1 year Reply

    Hi Phil,

    sorry to bother you but i have a question. In an event where the vessel has completed loading and left the port but then directly returned due to orders from a port authority and was subsequently detained, would the owners be able to claim for any form of damages? or would the liability only fall on the owner regardless of the circumstances?

    Best regards,
    Danny

    • Phil Stalley 1 year Reply

      Hi Danny

      thanks for your comment. In the case you describe you may be able to claim damages for detention from your charterer. I think this would depend on why the port authority ordered the vessel back to the port. If the reason was some deficiency on the part of the owners, master or crew you may have a problem. It is certainly worth exploring any remedy you may have here.

      I would be interested to know more details and the outcome if you are able to share it here

      best regards
      Phil

  8. Michael 7 months Reply

    Hi Phil
    I have a case presently going on. The vessel had finished discharging at port and was ready to depart. The Port Authorities closed the port for 5 days due to to much swell and high winds.

    The Charterers are well aware of the consequences of sending us to this port and includes a clause as such “All time lost at “port A” as a result of waiting due to swell is not permitting the ships entering the discharge port to Count half. To apply for this port only”.

    I am pushing for a 50/50 laytime against charterers after hose disconnected for the 5 days extra we spent there, by using clause 9 of Asbatank which includes a part “and depart therefrom always safely afloat”.

    In my opinion when Port Authorities closes a port they deem the port as unsafe for both berthing/unberthing, meaning the charterers should also bear the consequences of the events after hoses are disconnected.

    Pleased to hear you opinion.

    Michael

  9. phil 7 months Reply

    Hi Michael

    Thanks for you comment and you raise an interesting point but I think you will still need to prove that the port was unsafe. Generally speaking weather conditions on their own do not generally render a port unsafe. I think that the closest case to your set of circumstances is The “Count” [2006] EWHC 3222 (Comm). In this case the owners could claim damages but only becuase the court held that the port was unsafe. Bad weather had caused the sand banks to shift and the naviagtion buoys were out of position. This had resulted in a number of vessels running aground causing delay to the Count.

    I would be interested to learn how you get on with this argument, goiod luck!

    best regards
    Phil

  10. Fatih 6 months Reply

    hi Phil,

    Thanks for good and free advices which are helpful for our further fixtures. I have usual matter in hand and trying to find solution.
    We agreed to do one safe anchorage to perform STS, it has been done without problem, but then the vessel could not sail because of outward formalities due to bad weather. We tried to press Chrtrs to accept that it was not safe place and counting half at least acc to conoco weather clause. we have max 3 hrs awtg for documents.

    what is your suggestion how to proceed further ?
    Also, what exactly means “Cargo documents”? during outward formalities, custom clears Cargo as well, custom is signing Cargo manifest. can we insert “Cargo manifest signed by custom” into Cargo documents ?

    Is there any chance to provide similar arbitration result to Show chrtrs ?

    many thanks in advance.

    brgds
    Fatih

    • phil 6 months Reply

      Hi Fatih

      Thanks for your comment. You don’t say what c/p or what documentation clause you have in the c/p. If you have a standard clause that states time runs until completion of cargo documentation it is usually accepted that these are the documents at the load port. Once the vessel has discharged then there are no cargo documents as such and outward formalities in your case may be customs clearance of the vessel which I think is unlikely to be covered by the documentation clause.

      Does your STS clause cover delays beyond cargo hoses disconnected?

      I’m sorry I cannot be much help for you in this case

      Best regards
      Phil

      • Fatih 6 months Reply

        hi Phil,
        thanks for your reply.

        it is occured at loading port, the voyage is fixed under cp asbatank CP with additional terms. One of them says that Chrtrs have 3 hrs for arranging documents at each port after disconnection of hoses, any time excess of these 3 hours to count as laytime and another one says that any time after berthing due to bad weather counts half laytime (conoco weather clause)

        my argument is for documents which mean (for me) that it includes bill of lading, other documents and especially Cargo manifest which has to be signed&confirmed by loading port custom authorities and Due to delaying of custom’s coming onboard for signing of Cargo manifest for clerance of the Cargo, time should count as laytime, but due to conoco weather clause ( reason of delaying is bad weather), time should count as half laytime. (custom couldnt come onboard due to bad weather after completion of loading).

        Hope above is sufficent for your further advices which I needed.

        I highly appreciate if you present me similar result of arbitration

        many thanks in advance

        brgds
        fatih

  11. niyazi berkin 6 months Reply

    Hi Phil, good day
    the vessel chartered basis loading/discharging 4 total wwdays sshex eiu
    friday 5 pm / mon 8 am cls apply
    loading completed on friday at 16:00 hrs lt
    fumigation completed the same day at 17:00 hrs lt
    Cargo documents came on board monday at 11:35 hrs lt
    the charterers say that for the late comings of Cargo documents they do not pay any detention due to saturday and Sunday is holiday
    do they have such right to detain the vessel 3 days after completion of the loading ?
    for your guidance signed ch/p is gencon 1994
    thanks in advance for your reply
    best regards
    Niyazi

  12. Minas Efthimiou 1 month Reply

    Good morning,

    I have the following case under an Asbatankvoy cp. Vessel has completed her loading and she is ready to sail but during the loading operations a big vessel has berthed behind our tanker and the passage to unberth our vessel was very narrow. The pilot on duty refused to unberth our vessel due to safety reasons and we had to wait until the bigger ship completed her operations and free the passage behind us or until the new pilot (new shift) arrives and agree to unberth our vessel. Finally, the new pilot unberthed the vessel. Master issued a LOP for the 21 hours of delay “waiting for unberthing”.
    Should I add this time on my demurrage claim or as a separate detention claim?

    regards
    Minas

    • phil 1 month Reply

      Good Morning Minas

      This is an interesting case and I don’t know the answer but you may want to explore different ways of claiming this time.

      1. as you say you could add it to your demurrage claim although as laytime/demurrage has ended this is more a claim for detention. You may be able to convice charterers to pay as there is a breach of clause 9 which says the vessel should be able to “depart from always safely afloat”

      2. you may have a claim for damages against either the larger vessel that impeded your departure or the port authorities who permitted or directed the larger vessel to berth at that place. You may want to consult your PandI club to see what is the best apporach here.

      3. the problem i see with this case is that it seems a more experienced or confident pilot did eventually unberth your vessel and i suspect whoever you claim against may say that the p=roblem was the first pilot. I am not sure that you would be successful claiming gainst the pilot but again your PandI club may have a view on this.

      I would be interested to learn how this situation gets resolved so perhaps you would be kind enough to post agin here once it is resolved?
      many thanks
      Phil

      • Minas 1 month Reply

        Thank you for the prompt reply and interesting points.
        To be honest, I was thinking to add it on demurrage based on clause 9 “depart from always safely afloat” and see chrrs reaction…

        regards

        • phil 1 month Reply

          yes a good idea

          it may be worth exploring the alternative claims before time moves on too far but I’ll leave that with you

          best regards
          Phil