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Extrinsic evidence to contradict “owner’s option” clause in voyage charterparty disallowed

The facts

A voyage charterparty, referred to in this Canadian judgment as a “freight contract,” provided for the shipment of barley in bags from Vancouver to Kuwait specifying 10 000 long tons (a measurement of 2 240 pounds) “10% more or less quantity at owner’s option”.

The disponent owners refused to load more than 10 430 long tons.

The vessel had the capacity to load an additional 570 long tons.

The charterer claimed against the disponent owner for the loss of profit it could have made on the sale of an extra 570 long tons of barley.


The court referred to the well known decision of Louis Dreyfus & Cie v Parnaso Cia Naviera SA (The “Dominator”) in finding that the owner’s option clause meant that the vessel would take the load as specified but no more, even though it may have the capacity to do so.

The court disallowed evidence previously (admitted on a provisional basis) that there had been an agreement to load the vessel to full capacity. This evidence was disputed and therefore could not found a case for rectification. The evidence was disallowed on the ordinary application of the parol evidence rule in that it contradicted the plain terms of the written agreement.

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Charter Party Casebook