Charterers declining to make a futile nomination of delivery port – not precluded from cancelling
The Facts (mostly assumed for the purposes of a trial on a preliminary issue)
The relevant clauses of an amended Shelltime 4 charterparty read:
“4. The vessel shall be delivered by owners at a port in WAF – Ghana / Nigeria range in charterers’ option and redelivered to owners at a port in WAF – Ghana / Nigeria range in charterers’ option.
- The vessel shall not be delivered to charterers before 25th September 2007 and charterers shall have the option of cancelling this charter if this vessel is not ready and at their disposal on/or before 31st October 2007 …”.
The parties had agreed that the vessel would be converted from carrying and storage of only dirty petroleum products to carrying and storing dirty petroleum products and clean petroleum products.
Modifications took place at owners’ expense at a dry dock in Piraeus.
The parties agreed to extend the delivery date to 15 November 2007.
On 16 November 2007 while the vessel was still in the dry dock at Piraeus, charterers cancelled.
They had not nominated a port as envisaged in clause 4 of the charterparty.
Cooke J ordered a trial on the preliminary issue on whether failure to nominate a port disentitled charterers from cancelling. It was to be assumed that the nomination would have been futile because the vessel would not have been ready for service.
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