Breakdowns in Charter Party

The term ‘weather working day’ on its own without qualification is indeed affected by the number of hours actually worked in a port. Should bad weather occur outside working periods in the normal, non-working and otherwise idle time, laytime will not be affected. However, if bad weather occurs in normal working time, even if the vessel was idle at the time, laytime will be interrupted and the degree of interruption has to be reached by apportioning working time in a port against a 24-hour day. Since the case of the ‘VORRAS’, the term ‘working days, weather permitting’ should be taken to be the same as for the above example, and the terms ‘weather working days of 24 hours’ and ‘working days of 24 hours, weather permitting’ (i.e. without the all-important ‘consecutive’) must also be treated in the same manner. Breakdowns: It is reasonable that if a vessel’s gear is being used and it breaks down, laytime should not continue during the period of breakdown. It may be that, for example, one crane out of four has broken down and, in such a case, apportionment of the degree of loss must be carried out. In that relatively simple example, laytime would continue at a rate of 75% until the crane is repaired. There are, however, shore breakdowns, and it may be that the shipowners have knowingly or unwittingly assumed responsibility for these in their contract. Some charterparties exclude time lost due to stoppages of shore machinery “beyond the Charterers control”, which means just that under English law. Thus a shore crane breakdown that is judged to be ‘beyond charterers’ control’ (i.e. Charterers do not own or otherwise ‘control’ the crane) such a break-down will, therefore, interrupt laytime. Under American law it may be that the alternative view would be upheld, in shipowners’ favour, although that is not completely certain.