Purchasers beware: Intermediate time charterers not liable

14 Ноя

В публикации рассматривается решение Коммерческого суда по спору Navig8 Pte Ltd v Al-Riyadh Co for Vegetable Oil Industry [2013]. Спор был рассмотрен по английскому праву.

In the recent case of Navig8 Pte Ltd v Al-Riyadh Co for Vegetable Oil Industry [2013] the Commercial Court held that an intermediate time charterer was not liable to the purchaser of a cargo of palm oil since it was not a party to the carrier contracts, nor had it been a bailee or a party in possession of the cargo.
Al-Riyadh Co for Vegetable Oil Industry (Al-Riyadh), a Jordanian company, purchased a cargo of palm oil from Pacific Inter-Link Snd Bhd (PIL), a Malaysian company. The cargo was carried on the “LUCKY LADY” which set sail on 19 December 2011. The vessel was owned by Ladies Shipping Ltd, a Maltese company, which had time chartered the vessel to Navig8 Pte Ltd (Navig8), a Singaporean company. The time charter incorporated Shelltime 4, and was expressly subject to English
law. Navig8 sub-chartered the vessel to PIL, on back-to-back terms, on 7 March 2008. The bills of lading incorporated the sub-charter. They were signed by the master, who was employed on behalf of the registered owners, and contained an Identity of Carrier clause in the following terms:
“The contract of carriage evidenced by this Bill of Lading is between the shipper, consignee and/or owner of the cargo and the owner or demise charterers of the Vessel named herein to carry the cargo described above.”
The cargo arrived in Aqaba, Jordan, on 24 January 2012, and was rejected by Al-Riyadh for being off-specification. Al-Riyadh brought proceedings in Jordan against PIL, as seller, and Navig8, as carrier. Those proceedings continue.
Claim for relief
Navig8 brought an application in the English Commercial Court for summary judgment, seeking three declarations:
1. Navig8 was not a party to the contract of carriage
2. Navig8 was not at any material time bailee of, or in possession of the cargo
3. Navig8 was not liable to Al-Riyadh in respect of the cargo Judgment
Mr Justice Field agreed with Navig8 on all three points, and granted the declarations sought. He held:
–– It was well established that the incorporation of a charterparty governed by English law into a bill of lading demonstrated an implicit choice of law. Consequently,
the incorporation of Shelltime 4 meant that the bill of lading contract should be governed by English law
–– The Identity of Carrier clause and the signature by the master of the bills of lading, read together, indicated that the contractual carrier was the registered owner, not Navig8
––Undisputedly, Navig8 were intermediate time charterers of the vessel, and consequently they were never bailees, or in possession of the cargo
––Navig8 had no contractual liability to Al-Riyadh, neither as contractual carrier, nor as bailee, nor as a party in possession of the cargo
When pursuing a claim, aggrieved purchasers/receivers should proceed with caution in relation to intermediate time charterers since under the terms of the charterparty they may not be liable for the cargo carried, as in the present case.
Автор: Sabina Cehajic