371. Western Bulk Shipowning III A/S v Carbofer Maritime Trading APS and others (the “Western Moscow”) [2012] EWHC 1224 (Comm)

Juridical nature of shipowners’ lien

The Facts

Owners obtained a world-wide freezing order against five sub-charterers.

The first two sub-charters were back-to-back on an amended NYPE form.  These charters contained English Law and London arbitration clauses.

The lien clause read as follows:

“That the owner shall have a lien upon all cargoes, and all sub-freights, hire and sub-hire for any amounts due under this charter, including general average contributions”

The terms of the third charter were disputed.  Owners contended that the true charter was back-to-back with the first two charters.  Charterers contended that the third charter was subject to Greek Law with the arbitration in Athens, with no lien clause.  They produced a written document which owners said was a forgery.

Charterers applied to discharge the freezing order on multiple grounds including lack of jurisdiction and the absence of a clear risk of dissipation of assets.

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