Effect of Charterparty Breach

As with the seaworthiness undertaking the obligation to exercise reasonable dispatch appears to fall into the category of innominate or intermediate terms. Accordingly, the remedy available in any particular case will be dependent on the effects of the relevant breach. While the injured party will always be able to recover compensation in the form of damages for any unreasonable delay, he will only be able to repudiate the contract if the delay is so prolonged as to frustrate its object. In Freeman v Taylor a vessel had been chartered to take her cargo to Cape Town and, after discharging it, to proceed with all convenient speed to Bombay in order to load the charterer’s cargo of cotton. After discharging at the Cape, Town however, the master for his own account took on board a cargo of mules and cattle for carriage to Mauritius en route to Bombay. As the result of this diversion, the vessel was some six or seven weeks late in arriving in Bombay and the court held the delay sufficiently long to frustrate the object of the charter. In cases where the delay is not so prolonged, however, the injured party will be restricted to a claim for damages. Even such a claim may be barred if the particular delay is covered by an excepted peril.