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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

AUGUSTA – EXTRA SHIFTING EXPENSES INCURRED DUE TO DELAY IN DELIVERING CARGO DOCUMENTATION TO A VESSEL UPON COMPLETION OF LOADING

We have been informed that vessels calling at Augusta very often do not have the requisite cargo documentation before they are ordered to vacate the berth. The vessel is then ordered to wait at the anchorage.

This results in owners incurring additional shifting costs including the cost of a boat to deliver the documentation to the vessel. Where this occurs at weekends the cost is increased due to overtime charges. In principle owners should be able to recover these costs from charterers. The reason being that charterers are under an implied duty not to delay the vessel following completion of the loading operation, though it is customary to allow a period of two hours for charterers to get the necessary cargo documentation on board.

Provided that the delay is due to the fault of the charterers then owners may seek to claim damages for the detention of their vessel. Usually such damages are claimed at the demurrage rate. Demurrage as a form of liquidated damages is usually taken to include all additional costs such as tugs and pilotage. However, it is open for owners to claim the time used and the additional expenses incurred rather than claim at the demurrage rate.

Whilst owners have the possibility of making a claim for detention it is more practical if the charterparty provides a solution to the problem of delays in the provision of cargo documentation. Shellvoy 5 in clause 13 (b) (ii) has a practical and balanced solution to this problem, it provides:

“If the vessel is delayed for charterers’ purposes for more than one hour after disconnection of cargo hoses, until the termination of such delay provided that if the vessel waits at any place other than the berth, time on passage to such other place, from disconnecting of hoses to remooring/anchorage at such other place, shall not count.”

By this provision owners are compensated for the delay by additional demurrage, which is taken as including compensation of additional costs incurred.