AMWELSH

The MULTIFORM allows for a more complete vessel description in the main, printed part of the form than many (e.g. compare with the AMWELSH), others utilising an additional, rider clause, to provide concise details relevant to the trade/cargo envisaged. The position of the vessel at the time the contract is negotiated is also important as this governs its likely readiness to load. These lines are often treated very light-heartedly in contemporary negotiations and you will frequently encounter the simple word ‘trading’ after the printed word ‘now’ as in line 4. The courts, however, attach considerable importance to the accuracy of information about expected readiness to load and any substantial error in the stated position of the vessel can be considered misrepresentation. This could, therefore, be treated as a breach of condition entitling the charterer to rescind the contract. In the absence of any more specific stipulation, the ship is obliged to proceed to the loading port with ‘reasonable despatch’. It would not, for example, be right for a shipowner who had fixed his ship with laydays and cancelling 1/20 July stating ‘now trading and expected ready to load 3rd July’ to slip in an additional short voyage and turn up on the 17th July instead of around the 3rd. The time span between laydays and cancelling is to cover the owner against unforeseen delays and if the owner has been reckless or deliberately misleading in the expected readiness of his ship, the charterer would be entitled to claim damages for any loss attributable to the undue delay. The charterer would not, of course, be permitted to rescind the charter unless the result of the breach was such as to frustrate the entire object of the contract. Condition of vessel: (Clause 2). It is usual for a shipowner (or disponent owner) to confirm that a vessel is in a suitable condition safely and properly to undertake the contractual voyage (line 24).