Crew change catastrophe!

A shipbroker fixed a time charter trip in the Far East. There was a term in the charterparty that there could be “no crew change on the laden voyage”. However, during the laden voyage the owners sent a message to the shipbrokers’ operations department advising that on the way to the discharge port the ship would make a quick stop to conduct a crew change.

The shipbroker failed to pass the message on to the charterers. When the charterers discovered the deviation they protested that neither the owner nor Master had informed them. The charterparty provided that no crew change was allowed due to the regulations of the discharge port. These provided that the ship could not berth for 14 days after the completion of a crew change. There was accordingly a delay at the end of the voyage.

Although the owners accepted they were in breach of the charterparty they suggested that had the shipbroker passed on the message the charterers probably would have reverted with information about the discharge port and the owners could have made other arrangements. In the circumstances the brokers contributed US$ 10,000 to compensate the owners for some of the off-hire time.

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