Take care who you are writing to

A number of claims against shipbrokers are caused by a failure to take care who a message is addressed to. One example is the broker using the “reply” button, instead of “forward” in email communication. The result being that an offer with a time limit was not passed on to the charterers, but sent back to the owners. When the time limit expired the owners fixed the ship to another charterer. Sale and purchase business is not immune from this type of error.

In a recent case, a ship had been sold but not yet delivered to the buyers. The seller’s broker received a speed and performance claim from the charterers. The ship had been fixed with the same charterers in direct continuation once the buyers took possession of the vessel. The sellers’ brokers mistakenly forwarded the claim to the buyers and not their clients, the sellers. The buyers immediately became concerned whether the performance of the vessel would match the figures they had been given. The buyers’ lawyers sent a strongly worded message reserving their rights against the sellers for misrepresentation. The sellers, of course, vehemently complained to their brokers.

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