BPVOY3 Form – not permissible to serve notice of readiness by email
The vessel was chartered for a voyage from Baltic Ports to West African Ports to carry a cargo of clean petroleum products.
In an arbitration dispute on demurrage the point arose whether the notice of readiness which was served by email, was valid.
The relevant clauses read as follows:
“Clause 19: … (a) Laytime or, if the vessel is on demurrage, demurrage shall at each loading and each discharge port or place commence at the expiry of 6 hours after notice of readiness to load or discharge has been received from the Master or his agents by the charterers or their agents, berth or no berth, when the vessel commences to load or discharge at the berth or other loading or discharge in place, whichever first occurs. Such notice of readiness may be given either by letter, facsimile transmission, telegram, telex, radio or telephone (and if given by radio or telephone shall subsequently be confirmed in writing and if given by facsimile transmission confirm by telex) but such notice of readiness shall not be given without the charterers’ sanction, before the commencement of lay days …”
“Charterers shall not be discharged and released from all liability in respect of any claim for demurrage which owners may have under this charter unless a claim in writing has been presented to charterers together with supporting documentation substantiating each and every constituent part of the claim within 90 days of the completion of discharge of the cargo carried hereunder. Owners’ demurrage claims should be addressed to:
c/o Falcon Navigation Corp
90A Papandreou Street
The words in italics were added to the original BPVOY3 Form.
The arbitrators found that service of the notice of readiness by email was valid.
On appeal, Popplewell J found that clause 19 was prescriptive and that service of notice of readiness by email was not permissible.
Popplewell’s reasoning was that all the forms of service in clause 19 produced a hard copy upon which the charterers were able to make written comments which could later feature in any dispute regarding demurrage.
Popplewell J’s judgement appears to be sound.
Another reason why notice by hard copy would be preferred is that receipt of hard copies is easier to prove.
Also, the italisized portion in clause 23 indicates that the omission of the email option in clause 19 was deliberate.
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