Bad Weather on Charterparty

Normally a charterparty will specify the actual time before a holiday or a weekend that laytime is to be suspended – e.g. ‘from 1800 hours on the day preceding a holiday’. If no such time is specified, laytime is usually suspended from midnight on the day preceding a holiday. In the same way a charterparty will normally specify the actual time of resumption of laytime following a holiday or weekend – e.g. 0700 hours Monday. If no such time is specified, laytime will usually recommence at 0001 hours on the day following a holiday or weekend. If cargo work is performed during an excepted period, laytime will not normally count, unless the contract allows it to – e.g. ‘time not to count during weekends, ‘unless used’. Alternatively, a contract may emphasise that ‘time used during weekends is not to count, even if used’. Occasionally, agreement is reached that ‘actual time used during weekends is to count as laytime’, or even ‘half time actually used to count’. It may also be agreed that the period between notice of readiness being tendered and the commencement of laytime may count as laytime ‘if actually used’. Shifting between berths: It is common practice for contract wording to permit loading/ discharging at more than one berth or anchorage at each port. Consequently, time spent shifting between berths/anchorages is normally taken to be for owners’ account. However, should the agreed number of berths/anchorages be exceeded, it becomes reasonable that the shifting time involved should count as laytime, and that the expenses involved – e.g. towage and pilotage – should also be for the account of the charterers. Strikes: There is nearly always an express clause in a contract to the effect that delays due to shore strikes are not to count as laytime. Bad Weather: Clauses in a shipping contract referring to bad weather interruptions of laytime at one time could be divided into two types – ‘weather working days’ and ‘days, weather permitting’. For many years it had been accepted that the former expression favoured charterers and the latter favoured shipowners.