Saturday, June 22, 2024

Frozen ballast- is it sufficient to suspend laytime?

This is an old picture. However, similar weather conditions commonly exist in many trading areas during the winter season. Such weather conditions may affect the laytime or time on demurrage; cause freight/dead-freight claims, and lead the parties to significant disputes. This post merely highlights a previous arbitration decision on the issue of delay caused by frozen ballast water. The rest points will be referred to in another article.

In this arbitration decision, the Charterers contended that laytime should not count during a short period of few hours that loading suspended due to frozen ballast. The tribunal rejected the Charterers’ submission; because the Charterers had failed to either bring themselves within the ambit of any exception clause or prove fault on the Owners’ or the ships’ part.

So, It requires clear wording to interrupt laytime or time on demurrage when the frozen ballast causes the delay, and it will depend on the evidence available to establish fault on the ship’s part.

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