WhatsApp woes

A shipbroker mistakenly understood that owners had agreed to discount the overage rate by 50%, meaning that cargo loaded above 66,000MT would be charged at US$13.5 per MT instead of US$27 per MT. This mistake arose when a message from the charterer was received, via a screenshot in WhatsApp, which appeared to contain the owner’s consent to the proposal. However, all it actually contained was a copy of the message in which the charterers were asking the question of owners.

Charterers then proceeded to load an additional 2,940MT, believing that this would cost them US$ 39.690. Owners maintained that they had never agreed to a discounted overage rate and therefore the full US$ 79,380 was due.

To resolve the matter, the charterers paid the full freight amount but sought to recover US$ 39,690 from the shipbroker on the basis that this was the amount that they had lead them to believe was due. The shipbroker settled the claim with the charterers which was reimbursed by ITIC.

Always be careful when receiving Whatsapp (or any chat app) messages – as screenshots can be used to make messages look different from their original intention.

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