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Interruptions, Suspensions and Exceptions

Once the laytime commence to count, the same may be suspended with an “interruption” or “an exception” to laytime. Notwithstanding the laytime have commenced to count, same may be suspended with and “interruption” / “suspension” or with an “exception” – exception to laytime. The difference between these terms is; an interruption to laytime exclude periods out from definition of laytime expressed into the Clause of Laytime. Periods excepted are inside the definition, but specifically excluded. “Adverse weather” could be an interruption to laytime expressed in “weather working days”, but a clause excluding the lost time for strike, could be an exception. The principal difference is: with an interruption, it is only necessary show the “excluded state of affairs exists” – but with an exception, it is necessary show “a causal connection” between the exclusion and the cause by which it is impossible operate with the cargo. The periods of “adverse weather” are usually excluded from the calculation of time or reduced to half. Such periods are not included in the definition of laytime allowed, ej: “weather working day”, or because are excluded from the specific clause. In the first case, the reference is usually an simply “weather” in general; in the last may be the same or may be reference to specific types of weather.

When the port operations finalize before the allowed period, there are different methods by which the time not used on the port operation may be transferred to the another port operation and viceversa, named in the contract and qualified as “divisible” or “reversible”. This period of allowed time may be as simple period covering both operations, for the loading and discharging or the charter could establish expressly separated calculation. In this last case, the conditions may be made for the transference of laytime not used from loading to the allowed time for discharging or viceversa. In certain traffics for the partial carriage of oil, a vessel may be under different charters at the same time, each one covering part of the cargo.

“To average”: means that the compute over the loading and discharging have to be carried out separately and each period of time not used in an operation may be used in the another operation.

“Reversible”: means that the Charterer may joint the allowed time for loading and discharging. When this option is exercised, the effect may be the same in the total compute with reference to others terms.

The most usual interpretation established in clauses for despatch, is rewarded to charterer for all saved time to vessel, established in the same sense that the prevision for delation, without take into account exceptions or suspensions to laytime. When the Charterer use a period greater that allowed for loading and/or discharging, the shipowner will have right to be compensated for delation caused to extra time incurred, fixed previously by the parties, at a daily rate covering the daily fixed costs, plus a reasonable profit. This situation take the figure of “liquidated damage”, “demurrage” or “unliquidated damages”, where the claim is for “detention”. The demurrage is usually specified into the charter party as a daily operative rate and the parties can fix for a limited period of demurrage – “fixed period of demurrage” or for an unlimited period, “demurrage period not fixed”. It is accepted that the fault on charterer for the loading or discharging not completed inside the forecasted period, as “breach of contract”.

Consequently, the “rate of demurrage” is contemplated by the parties to cover the “vessel’s daily running costs”, plus a profit for the Owner to reimburse the loss of future freights, if the vessel could be released opportunely. Therefore, from the commercial point of view, and being the freight subject to subsequent pressure from the changing market, it is important that the demurrage must be fixed beforehand. A phrase very used referred to demurrage is “once on demurrage, always on demurrage”, understanding this that the exceptions to laytime are not applied once the count of demurrage have commenced; consecuently the demurrage is computed on the base of “running day” - “running hour”.

It necessary establish conditions very clear to convince to the another party that, once the demurrage have commenced, one particular exception may take place.

In the case “Spalmatori”, was discussed if it is applicable the Clause “strike” in the contract “Centrocon”, when the Charterer incurred in demurrage and the strike commenced. Lord Reid one time established.

If the strike is produced after the demurrage have commenced to compute, the Owner may mention : it is true that the violation of contract have stopped my vessel after de finalization of laytime and that the same have caused the strike, but if you had completed your contract in the forecasted period, the strike had not caused detention to my vessel, because it had been in the sea before the situation had commenced: consequently, it is more reasonable that you could support the loss, in my behalf. A claim for detention issue when the vessel is delayed for fault of the charterer, or for fault on those for whom him it is responsible. A claim for detention issue when the vessel it is found delayed for mistake or omission of charterer, or those parts for whom he is responsible, during the validity of the contract. The damage not liquidated are recovered for such delation, excepted when happen after the vessel have reached her specified destination and the operations of loading and discharging have not been completed, according to the case.

In a voyage charterer party, the laytime and the demurrage normally is computed until the finalization of loading or discharging or until the contract is qualificated as frustrated. Under the “Doctrine of frustration”, there are circumstances that dilate the execution of a contract or can address at a point where the parties reach a free condition of responsibility. In consideration to the contract of affreightments where is commonly qualified under the sentence “frustration of the commercial purpose of the maritime adventure”.