NOR by email? – BPVoy 3

29 Апр

Публикация посвящена рассмотрению конкретного дела Trafigura Beheer BV v Ravennavi SpA [2013] – спора о демередже. Предварительным вопросом в деле было, допускалась ли контрактом подача нотиса посредством электронной почты. Арбитраж определил, что допускалась. Это решение было обжаловано. Апелляционная инстанция решила, что перечень способов подачи нотиса в чартере проформы BPVoy 3 исчерпывающий, а подача нотиса таким способом контрактом не предусмотрена.

Ravennavi chartered the vessel “PORT RUSSEL” to Trafigura on a voyage charter on an amended BPVOY 3 for the carriage of clean petroleum products from Baltic ports to West African ports. Clause 19 provided that:

“Such Notice of Readiness may be given either by letter, facsimile transmission, telegram, telex, radio or telephone (and if given by radio or telephone shall subsequently be confirmed in writing and if given by facsimile transmission confirmed by telex)”

Disputes arose in relation to demurrage which were referred to arbitration. The preliminary issue was whether email was a contractually permissible method of serving notices of readiness under this charterparty? The Tribunal held by a majority (Messrs. Robertson and Schofield, with Scott dissenting) that it was. Trafigura appealed.


The appeal was allowed for the following reasons:

1 The plain meaning of the words is that the list of methods in the BPVOY3 form is exclusive.
2 There would be no point setting out six specific methods if any were permissible.
3 The charterparty had been amended elsewhere to include email. The parties clearly had email in mind at the time of drafting but chose not to amend the NOR clause.
4 In view of the important financial and commercial consequences of giving the NOR, certainty of obligation is important. If the list is permissive and other methods could be used, there is a degree of uncertainty over whether the NOR is valid.
5 A common feature of the six listed methods is that all result in a hard copy document being received by charterers (radio and telephone notice were required to be confirmed in writing). Email does not necessarily achieve this and there is not therefore an immediate opportunity for comments or notes to be written. Such notes are often of great significance in the event of a dispute and in their absence the giver of an NOR may derive some advantage.
6 The clause contains no words indicating that it is a list of examples, such as “or otherwise”.

Popplewell J. also commented that the arbitrators should not have looked at the intention of those drafting the standard BPVOY3 form in the 1990s, because the relevant intention, as a matter of law, was that of the contracting parties at the time of the fixture, assessed objectively.

(Trafigura Beheer BV v Ravennavi SpA [2013])