28. Northfield Steamship Company v Compagnie L’union Des Gaz (The “Nessfield”) [1912] 1 KB 434

WIBON clause effective trigger for commencement of laytime

The facts

Coal was shipped from Sunderland to Savona under a voyage charterparty containing the provision:

Time to commence when steamer is ready to unload and written notice given, whether in berth or not.

The vessel arrived and moored inside the harbour of Savona but was unable to berth due to congestion. Written notice was given on the day of arrival.

Notwithstanding the clear wording of the provision referred to above, the charterers contended that laytime commenced only once the vessel had berthed and discharge had commenced.

Findings

The court of first instance (Hamilton J) found that laytime began to run as soon as Notice of Readiness was given as did the Court of Appeal (Cozens–Hardy MR and Farwell LJ).

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