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Frustration – inordinate delay caused by excepted peril still effects frustration.

The Facts

The vessel was time charted for two Baltic rounds with “clear holds, and ready for cargo at the disposal of the charterers, at an East Coast coal port, … as charterers may direct … not before June 29, 1914… she being maintained by owners with a full complement of officers, seamen, engineers and firemen, necessary for a steamer of her tonnage and class, to be employed in such lawful trades between such safe ports of the United Kingdom and the continent of Europe and / or Baltic … as charterers or their agents shall direct … the charterers shall pay for the use and hire of the said vessel at the rate of £865 per calendar month: commencing on and from delivery, as before stated … until redelivery of steamer (unless lost) to owners … at a coal port in the United Kingdom”.

Payment of hire was to be made half – monthly in advance in Glasgow.

The charterparty contained a mutual exception clause: “arrests and restraints of princes, rulers and people … always mutually excepted”.

A further clause read:

“…in the event of Great Britain or other European power being involved in war affecting the working of the steamer at the commencement or during the currency of this charter excluding civil war with Ireland, charterers have the option of cancelling this charter, or to insure at their expense the steamer against all risks for the full value under the present policy as approved by owners”.

The vessel was delivered into service and proceeded from Hull to Cronstadt with a cargo of coal.

Time charters sub – chartered the vessel to load timber at Viborg and Kotka, Finland, for a voyage to Blyth, Northumberland.

After completion of loading at Kotka, Germany declared war on Russia and in consequence, the vessel was detained at Kotka by Russian Naval Authorities indefinitely.

Save for the Captain and the Chief Engineer, the crew was repatriated.


Owners claimed hire. Charterers resisted payment.


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Charter Party Casebook