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“shall perform her service with utmost despatch and shall proceed to” load port  – creates an absolute obligation

The Facts

The vessel was chartered on a Shellvoy 5 form dated 5 January 2015 for a voyage from Rotterdam to the Far East. The cancellation date was 23h59 on 4 February 2015.

At the time of the fixture, the vessel was laden with a cargo under a previous charter under which she was to discharge part of her cargo in Egypt and thereafter go to Alexandra to reload a part cargo and then proceed to Antifer, Le Havre for final discharge.

On 12 January 2015 while was the vessel was transiting the Suez Canal on the first charter, her hull was damaged by a submerged obstruction in the canal requiring dry dock repairs for an extended period.

Charterers cancelled and claimed damages.


Popplewell J, referring to the Wythburn and the North Anglia, inter alia, held that the vessel had an absolute obligation to proceed on the approach voyage at a time when it was reasonably possible to arrive on time.

He was upheld by Longmore, King LJJ and Sir Rupert Jackson.


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Charter Party Casebook