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ENGLISH SHIPPING LAW

Lloyd's Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly

ENGLISH SHIPPING LAW Stephen Girvin * CASES 145. American Overseas Marine Corp v Golar Commodities Ltd (The LNG Gemini) 1 Time charterparty—carriage of “cargoes injurious to the Vessel”—debris in the vessel’s cargo pumps and tanks—whether charterers in breach of the charterparty The LNG Gemini , a 100,000MT “Aquarius” LNG carrier, 2 was owned by O and let by them to G for 60 days (15 days more or less and with two charterers’ options to extend the hire for further such periods). Clause 30 of the charterparty provided that “No acids, explosives or cargoes injurious to the Vessel shall be shipped and without prejudice to the foregoing any damage to the Vessel caused by the shipment of any such cargo, and the time taken to repair such damage, shall be for Charterers account”. 3 In May 2011, G loaded a cargo of LNG 4 at the Cameron Terminal, Louisiana. O alleged that the cargo loaded was injurious to the vessel because it contained debris, in particular metal particles, which had contaminated the vessel’s cargo pumps and tanks, causing abrasion, rust and risk of electrical short and pump failure, and that consequently major repairs to the vessel were required after she was drydocked at the Keppel Subic Shipyard at Subic Bay. Relying on cl.30, O claimed damages of US$1,933,933 from G for the cost of repairs and time lost and an indemnity for the sum and against any claims for contamination of other cargoes.G accepted that metallic particles and other debris were trapped in the manifold strainers and loading arms when the LNG Gemini was loaded, and that some debris was probably carried into the cargo tanks. Decision : Claim not allowed. Held : (1) A cargo could not be “injurious to the vessel” within the meaning of the charterparty without causing any physical damage. (2) Clause 30 of the charterparty was directed to physical damage: it expressly covered two types of cargo which might cause physical damage to the vessel, namely acid and explosives, and the inference was that it also covered other cargoes that might cause physical damage. (3) Such an interpretation was corroborated because the clause was particularly concerned with “repairs” of damage * Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. 1. [2014] EWHC 1347 (Comm); [2014] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 113 (QBD: Andrew Smith J). 2. For detailed consideration of the vessel, see ibid , [13–20]. 3. This was said to be on the same terms as cl.28 of the Shelltime form: ibid , [65]. 4. See Stephen Girvin, Carriage of Goods by Sea , 2nd edn (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011), [1.13]. ENGLISH SHIPPING LAW 113

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