511. SBT Star Bulk and Tankers (Germany) GmbH and Co KG v Cosmotrade SA (“the Wehr Trave”) [2016] EWHC 583 (Comm)

A “onetime charter trip” remains a time charter, distinct from a voyage charter

The Facts

The Charter was on an amended NYPE 1946 form including the following terms:

“That the said owners agree to let, and the said charterers to hire the said vessel, from the time of delivery, for onetime charter trip via good and safe ports and / or berths via East Mediterranean / Black Sea to Red Sea / Persian Gulf / India / Far East always via Gulf of Aden, with steels and / or other lawful / harmless general cargo, suitable for carriage in a cellular container vessel as described. No bulk cargo is allowed. Duration minimum 40 days without guarantee within below mentioned trading limits…

“Vessel to be placed at the disposal of the charterers dropping outward pilot Algeciras at any time day or night, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays included. The vessel on her delivery to be ready to receive any permissible cargo… in such lawful trades, between good safe port and / or good safe ports and good safe berths and / or good safe berths and good safe anchorage and / or good safe anchorages, always afloat, always within Institute Warranty Limits as charterers or their agents shall direct…

“That the charterers shall pay for the use and hire for the said vessel at the rate of US 8200 per day, pro rata, including overtime payable every 15 days in advance, commencing on and from the day / time of her delivery, as aforesaid, and at and after the same rate for any part of the day; hire to continue until the time of the day of the day of her redelivery as per clause 55 in like good order and condition ordinary wear and tear accepted, to the owners (unless lost) on dropping last outward sea pilot one safe port in charterers’ option Colombo / Busan range including China not north Qingdao , at any time day or night, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays included…

The Captain (although appointed by the owners), shall be under the orders and directions of the charterers as regards to Employment and Agency”

The charterers gave voyage orders to the owners as follows:

“Loading ports rotation: Sevastopol (Ukraine) and reverting (probably in Gemlik / Turkey) …  Discharging ports rotation: probably will be Jeddah + Muscat + Hamriyah + Jebel Ali + Dammam”.

The vessel loaded cargoes at Sevastopol / Avitla, Novorossiysk and Constantza / Agigea.

The vessel proceeded to discharge at Jeddah and Sohar (on the Gulf of Oman) and three ports in the Persian Gulf (Hamriyah, Jebel Ali and Dammam).

Before completing discharge at Dammam, the charterers gave orders to proceed back to Sohar to load a cargo for delivery at New Mangalore or Cochin (West Coast of India).

Owners argued that the last order to proceed to Sohar was unlawful.

A preliminary question was re-formulated as follows:

“Whether or not the particular terms of the charterparty permitted the charterers to order the vessel to load a further cargo after the initial cargo had been discharged”.

Findings

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