Tanker Case Comes Clean

Monday, November 25, 2002
David Martin Clark has drawn attention to a recent arbitration award from the Society of Maritime Arbitrators in New York in the case of Giant Shipping Ltd v Tauber Oil Company. The case concerns the readiness of a tanker to load carbon black feedstock, having previously carried a cargo of low sulphur waxy residue from Indonesia. Although on arrival at the load port, Galveston in Texas, the ship complied with the charterparty requirement that its tanks were free of any liquid and pumpable cargo residues, the majority of the panel found that it was not ready to load due to an excessive amount of the previous cargo still on board below the level of the heating coils. As a result, the shipowners' claim for demurrage was reduced. But, what the shipowners lost on the swings, they largely recovered on the roundabouts. The contractors engaged by the charterers to clean the tanks were, in the opinion of the majority (a different majority this time) clearly incompetent and should have been taken off the job much earlier than was, in fact, the case. As a result, the charterers' claim for the costs of cleaning was drastically reduced and the shipowners were awarded detention for the time the contractors had wasted. Source: Maritime Advocate
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