Time limit for demurrage claim

Shipbrokers acted as sole brokers for the voyage charter of a tanker whose owners calculated that they had a claim for demurrage against the charterers in the amount of US$ 60,287 when the voyage was completed.

One of the terms of the charterparty was that charterers would be released from all liability for demurrage unless the documents were presented to them within 90 days of completion of the discharge.

The owners sent the required documentation to the brokers and the papers were delivered during the Christmas and New Year holiday period when only a skeleton staff was present in the brokers' office.  Unfortunately, the letter was routed to the wrong department and, by the time the error was noticed, the 90 day period had elapsed and the owners' claim against charterers was therefore time-barred.

The Club's lawyers advised that no defence was available to the owners' claim for indemnity, which was promptly settled in full by the Club in the best interests of all concerned.

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