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Safe port – charterers not liable for damage sustained by vessel loading at unsafe berth

The facts

The vessel was ordered under a voyage charterparty to proceed with a load of coal to “Colchester as ordered or so near thereto as she may safely get, and there deliver the same alongside any wharf, vessel or craft, as ordered, where she can safely deliver…”

After a full day of discharging, the vessel was found to have sustained damage by grounding.

The owners sought to hold the consignees and/or the charterers liable.


Branson J found that the terms of the charterparty did not imply an obligation on the charterers to warrant the safety of the discharging berth.

Neither were the consignees liable as they could not be said to be in control of the wharf.


This case agrees with the Pass of Leny and is contrary to Lensen.

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Charter Party Casebook