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When reaching the final stages of a negotiation for the charter of a ship trading from the Black Sea to Spain, a ship broker applied laytime provisions which had recently been used in a previous fixture where NOR was tendered in China.

The Chinese provisions allowed for NOR to be tendered up to 2359 on the day of arrival. However, in Spain, it is usual practice for NOR to be tendered only up to 1700 and then again from 0800 the next day.

The ship arrived at 2155 on a Friday, but could not berth until 2000 on the following Monday. Owners attempted to tender NOR at 2155 on Friday upon their arrival. Both parties agreed that Saturday and Sunday were excluded from laytime calculations, even if used. However, the owners argued that the laytime clock started running upon tendering of NOR at 2155 until 2359 on the Friday and then continued again from Monday 0000. However, charterers argued that time did not start running until 0800 on the Monday as that was the first time owners could officially tender NOR. This was roughly a ten hour difference.

This issue led to a dispute over the amount of demurrage that was due to the owners. There was a difference of just over US$ 50,000 between owners and charterers positions. Eventually a tripartite agreement, between owners, charterers and the ship broker was concluded in which each party contributed a third towards the disputed amount. The ship broker therefore paid an additional US$ 17,000 to owners (as did charterers) to resolve the matter. The ship broker’s share of the agreement was covered under their policy with ITIC.

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