Monday, July 15, 2024

Vessel’s slow steaming resulted in numerous claims & counterclaims

Performance dispute- bunkers- alleged engine issues- slow steaming- entangled ropes- performance analysis- bunker quantity dispute

The vessel departed from the loading port, and the charterers observed she was slow steaming en route. At the intermediate port, the charterers supplied the vessel with bunkers. Due to slow steaming (suspecting fouling), the charterers arranged for an underwater inspection, which revealed entangled ropes in the propeller and the diver removed the ropes. The vessel then resumed her sea passage to the discharge port and delivered the cargo.

The charterers brought an underperformance claim. The owners denied that the vessel underperformed, submitting a performance report from their appointed Weather Routing Company (WRC) that indicated no good weather conditions were present during the voyage and the report produced no performance results. Furthermore, the owners argued that the bunkers supplied by the charterers were off-spec, leading to deficient performance. They also contended that the vessel was not on an “even keel” during the voyage, which was a condition in the performance warranty.

Upon redelivery, the vessel had less bunker quantity than stipulated, and the owners claimed the price difference between the Charter Party (CP) rate and local market prices for the short quantity (“about”= 5% applied). The charterers rejected the owners’ arguments, asserting that the bunkers were not off-spec and that this was not verified by an independent laboratory. They also stated that the owners’ laboratory analysis did not show any significant operational difficulties with burning these bunkers. Additionally, the charterers argued that the entangled rope in the propeller was the owners’ responsibility and contributed to the slow steaming. They insisted that the bunker shortfall resulted from the owners’ breaches and should be their liability. Furthermore, the charterers contended that the WRC report from the owners did not apply the agreed benchmark conditions for measuring performance and should be ignored as evidence. Lastly, the charterers claimed losses due to subsequent delays at the discharge port, because of the Vessels delayed arrival.

In conclusion, both sides presented several claims and counterclaims regarding the vessel’s deficient performance. The core question remains: who was responsible for the vessel’s deficient performance (affecting also the other claims), and how should the loss be quantified (even if there was no good weather)? a WRC report is not sufficient to resolve such claims.

Related Articles

Latest Articles