East Med or East Gulf

A shipbroker fixed a vessel to carry soya from Argentina with a choice of two discharge ranges: Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Gulf.

While the vessel was loading, the receivers advised that the discharge port was likely to be Eastern Mediterranean. However, before loading operations concluded, the Charterers advised the brokers that the discharge port was to be in Middle Eastern Gulf. The brokers unfortunately missed the message and did not immediately pass it on to the Owners.

By the time the brokers realised their mistake and passed on the message, the vessel had set sail and was steaming North up the Atlantic. The Owners therefore had a choice: they could direct her to turn around and head South, round the Cape of Good Hope and up into the Gulf; alternatively, they could direct her to continue to steam North, pass through the Mediterranean and transit the Suez Canal to reach the Gulf.

There were numerous variables to factor into the decision. The vessel would be off-hire for a few days if she turned around and headed South; she would need to take on bunkers whichever option was chosen, and they were cheaper at Gibraltar; the Suez transit would be likely to cost about USD 80,000, but a rebate might be possible. After careful analysis, it was decided that the vessel would continue up to the Mediterranean and pass through the canal. The total claim amounted to almost USD 100,000. The Club indemnified the brokers less their deductible.

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