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Off-hire clause – delay caused by a master and crew refusing to sail except in convoy during war time – vessel not off-hire

The facts

In December 1943, with the vessel ready to leave from Newcastle, Australia, a full complement of officers and crew refused to sail except in convoy. Their refusal caused the sailing of the vessel to be delayed for 7 days. 

Clause 11(A) of the CP read:

“In the event of drydocking or other necessary measures to maintain the efficiency of the vessel, deficiency of men or owners’ stores, break down of machinery, damage to hull or other accident, either hindering or preventing the working of the vessel and continuing for more than 24 consecutive hours, no hire to be paid in respect of any time loss thereby during the period which the vessel is unable to perform the service immediately required.”      

An addendum to clause 11(A) read:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of clause 11(A) it is agreed that in the event of loss of time due solely to inability to get or complete a crew (a) full hire will be paid for the first 72 hours of such loss of time and (b) in the event of such loss of time taking place at a port in the United Kingdom or in ports in the British Empire overseas and continuing beyond such 72 hours, half hire will be paid for a further period of 72 hours, thereafter hire shall cease until the vessel is again ready to resume service.”  

 Charterers claimed that a no hire was payable, or alternatively, that reduced hire was payable under the addendum. 

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