17. Roland-Linie Schiffahrt G.M.B.H v Spillers Ltd and others (The “Werrastein”) [1956] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 211

Demurrage clause held operative notwithstanding vessel not an arrived ship

The facts

Wheat was shipped from Sydney to Hull under a port charterparty with a proviso reading:

Provided always that if such discharging place is not immediately available, demurrage in respect of all time waiting thereafter shall be paid.

Due to congestion, the vessel was unable to reach a berth and was required to lie at an anchorage 22 miles from the intended loading berth at King George Dock.

The bill of lading holders (the bills of lading incorporated in terms of the charterparty) argued that
laytime could not run prior to the vessel becoming an arrived ship and that the vessel was
not an arrived ship when she lay anchor because she was outside the port of Hull.

Findings

Sellers J held that the demurrage clause was operative irrespective of whether the ship was an
arrived ship or not.

He relied on North River Freighters Ltd v President of India where laytime (demurrage) was held to run despite the absence of a notice of readiness.

Commentary

In North River Freighters the technical point taken by the charterers was
lack of formal notice; here it was the physical position of the vessel.

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