Berth booking blunder
Ship owners appointed a port agent for the call of their vessel for bunkers. The agent failed to complete the required customs formalities in time to book the berth. Unfortunately, this mistake went unnoticed until the vessel was approaching the port. After being notified by the agent of the mistake, the ship owner decided to divert the vessel to another port around 500 km north of the original port as the bunker berth at the first port was not due to become free for another five days. The ship agent also operated within the second port and the bunkering proceeded without incident.
When the time came to settle invoices totalling USD 26,000 issued by the various service providers in the second port, the owners refused to pay. The owners claimed that these additional costs had been incurred by them as a result of not being able to call at the original port. The costs were in fact the normal charges that related to bunker calls, such as tugs, security charges and pilotage and would have been payable by the owners in any event, even if the vessel had been able to call at the original port. However, the vessel had been delayed by two days and it was estimated had incurred costs that exceeded this amount for fuel and other costs, as a result of having to travel 500 km to the second port. Rather than enter into a dispute with the owners, the ship agent paid the port costs for the bunker call, and was reimbursed by ITIC, net of their deductible.