Not enough skins

A broker in northern Europe was appointed by the owner to exclusively market a tanker. A voyage charterparty was arranged for the carriage of 20,000 metric tonnes of vegetable oil from the US Gulf to the Mediterranean.

Approximately one week prior to the intended loading date it was realised that the tanker was not suitable, having only a single skin hull. Under the USA OPA rules a single skin tanker was not allowed to lift persistent oils after 1st January, 2004.

The charterer eventually had to charter two other ships at much higher rates to fulfil their obligations and claimed a loss of USD166,000 from the owner. The claim was overstated and was eventually settled for USD70,000, which the owner claimed from his broker.

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