105. T.A Shipping Ltd v Comet Shipping Ltd (The “Agamemnon”) [1998] 1 Lloyds Rep 675

Effect of premature Notice of Readiness

The facts

This charterparty on a Gencon form required the vessel to load uncoated steel pipes at Baton Rouge on the Mississippi river, destination Brisbane.

Notice of Readiness was to be given when the vessel came as near she could safely get to Baton Rouge.

Notice of Readiness was given prematurely when the vessel reached the South West Pass, a customary waiting area for vessels wishing to enter the river and about 170 miles from Baton Rouge.

The charterers’ agents were in regular contact with the vessel from the time of the giving of Notice of Readiness to its arrival at the Baton Rouge anchorage.

The charterers treated the Notice of Readiness as having been given at the time when it should have been given i.e. when the vessel arrived at the Baton Rouge anchorage.

Findings

The arbitrators found that laytime commenced upon giving notice at the South West Pass.

Thomas J in the Commercial Court, following the decision of the Court of Appeal in Mexico 1, held that Notice of Readiness could only be given when the vessel was in fact ready. This required the vessel to be in the position stipulated in the charterparty i.e. as close to Baton Rouge as she could safely get.

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