Fleet agreement held not to have incorporated arbitration clause in individual ship repair contracts.
A fleet agreement was concluded between a shipyard and a ship management company.
The purpose of the fleet agreement was to set the ground rules for individual ship repair contracts to be entered into between the shipyard and the individual ship owning companies owing vessels within the fleet.
The individual ship repair contracts expressly incorporated general conditions which included a London arbitration clause.
Prior to the fleet agreement 8 to 12 individual ship repair contracts had been concluded between the shipyard and vessels of the fleet.
The fleet agreement was renewed on an annual basis over a period of 5 years during which a further 12 individual ship repair contracts were concluded.
A dispute arose between the parties relating to a fleet rebate governed by the terms of the fleet agreement.
The ship management company referred the dispute to arbitration, the shipyard contesting the competence of the referral.