179. Pearl Carriers Inc v Japan Line Ltd (The “Chemical Venture”) [1993] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 508

Safe port – owners agreeing to proceed to unsafe port in return for war risks bonus – charterers not liable

The facts

The vessel was chartered during the course of the war between Iran and Iraq on the Shelltime 3 form including the safe port warranty limiting the charterers’ liability to the exercise of due diligence.

After negotiation, the owners allowed the vessel to proceed on a dangerous voyage to the port of Mina Al Ahmadi. To overcome opposition to the voyage from the master and crew, the charterers agreed to pay a war risks bonus.

En route to the port, the vessel was struck by an air to ground missile causing substantial damage to the vessel and personal injury to the seamen.

Findings

In an action before the Commercial Court (Gatehouse J), the court upheld the charterers’ argument that the owners agreed to proceed to the port and were therefore not entitled to rely on the warranty contained in clause 3.

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