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Safe port – port found unsafe on the facts – charterers liable

The facts

The vessel was time chartered on the Baltime form, “to be employed… only between good and safe ports or places where she can safely lie always afloat or safely aground …”.

During the course of the charter, the charterers ordered the vessel to proceed to Cape Chat, Quebec to load a part cargo of timber.

The vessel arrived at the port and began loading. On the early hours of the fifth day and after three days of loading, the vessel’s aft moorings parted by reason of the force of the wind and the vessel swung around held only by the forward moorings.

The vessel grounded on her starboard side, pitching violently in the heavy swell.

In due course the vessel was freed and taken to Quebec for repairs after which it returned to Cape Chat to finish loading.

The owners claimed damages.


Mocatta J sitting with Captain DS Tibbits as nautical assessor found the port to be unsafe by reason of its exposure to the elements and the absence of an early warning weather service.

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Charter Party Casebook