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CSSA CHARTERING AND SHIPPING SERVICES SA V MITSUI OSK LINES LTD (THE "PACIFIC VOYAGER")

Lloyd's Law Reporter

CSSA CHARTERING AND SHIPPING SERVICES SA V MITSUI OSK LINES LTD (THE "PACIFIC VOYAGER")

[2017] EWHC 2579 (Comm), England and Wales, Commercial Court (QBD), Mr Justice Popplewell, 18 October 2017

Charterparty (voyage) - Shipowner's obligation to get vessel to loading port - Monroe obligation

The claimants had chartered the VLCC Pacific Voyager from the defendant owners on the Shellvoy 5 form for a voyage from Rotterdam. While proceeding through the Suez Canal to the loadport, the vessel made contact with an underwater object and required dry-docking which would take months. The charterers cancelled the charterparty. The charter contained no ETA at the loading port nor any date of expected readiness to load, but did contain a laycan range and the usual express power of termination by the charterers if the vessel did not arrive before the specified cancelling date. The fixture recap also gave details of the anticipated timetable for completion of the current voyage. The load port ETA or date of expected readiness to load were usually the trigger for an absolute obligation on the shipowner to proceed with all convenient speed to the loading port ( Monroe Brothers Ltd v Ryan (1935) 51 Ll L Rep 179; [1935] 2 KB 28). The charterers contended that in the absence of a specified ETA, the absolute obligation was instead on the owners to commence the approach voyage by a date when it was reasonably certain that the vessel would arrive at the loading port by the cancelling date. The owners disputed that such an absolute obligation existed under the charter, and contended that their obligation was one to use due diligence to ensure that the vessel commenced the approach voyage by such date.

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