569. Seatrade Group N.V. v Hakan Agro DMCC (the “Aconcagua Bay”) [2018] EWHC 654 (Comm)

“always accessible” applies to entry and departure

The facts

The charter of the vessel was for carriage from the US Gulf to the Republic of Congo and Angola. The charter party, on an amended GENCON 1994 form, provided:

“10. Loading port or place (Cl.1)

1 good safe berth always afloat always accessible 1-2 good safe ports in the USG in Charterers’ option …”

While the vessel was loading at an unnamed Gulf port,  a bridge and lock were damaged.

As a result the vessel was unable to leave the berth until 14 days after she had completed loading.

The Owners claimed damages for detention from the Charterers for the period of delay.

Findings

The arbitrator, Ian Kinnell QC, found the warranty applied to entry but not departure, following London Arbitration 11/97 (1997) LMLN 463.

In the absence of other authority, Mr Justice Robin Knowles CBE,  found the warranty to include departure, as a matter of ordinary language.

 

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