Free Pratique

Johanna Oldendorff were that the charter was a port charter and the charterers, in accordance with the terms of the charter, nominated Liverpool/Birkenhead as the port of discharge. The vessel arrived at Mersey Bar anchorage on 2nd January 1968, but no berth was nominated by the charterers. The following day the vessel cleared with customs and was ordered to proceed to anchor at the Bar Light Vessel. This position was about 17 miles away from the berths but still in the port area. The ship lay at anchor at the Bar from January 3rd to 20th, ready, as far as it was concerned, to discharge. The Bar was the customary waiting place for bulk grain ships. The shipowners gave notice of readiness to discharge on January 3rd 1968. The issue was who was liable to pay for the delay. That depended on whether the ship was an arrived ship. The House of Lords held that the ship, when anchored at the Bar, was an arrived ship because it was at the immediate and effective disposition of the charterers at a place within the port area where waiting ships would usually lay. The ‘Reid Test’ as per Lord Reid in the Joanna Oldendorff was applied in the later case of the Maratha Envoy (1978) where it was held that the vessel was not an arrived ship because neither in a port charter nor a berth charter was a voyage brought to an end by the arrival of the ship at a waiting place outside the named port of discharge. ‘The ship must be ready and in a fit condition to receive the cargo’.This action means that the vessel must be ready in all of her holds so as to give the charterer complete control of every portion of the ship available for cargo. It further means that the vessel must be properly equipped and her gear in perfect working order ready for the reception of the cargo. The ship must also be in free pratique to be accepted as a ready ship because, no matter how physically ready the ship may be, until the port health officials have passed the ship as OK, no one else is allowed on board. The second obligation that the carrier must fulfil, prior to the commencement of laytime, is that when she has arrived at her destination the vessel must be ready in all respects to commence loading before laytime will commence. This action means that the vessel must be ready in all of her holds so as to give the charterer complete control of every portion of the ship available for cargo. It further means that the vessel must be properly equipped and her gear in perfect working order ready for the reception of the cargo. The ship must also be in free pratique to be accepted as a ready ship because, no matter how physically ready the ship may be, until the port health officials have passed the ship as OK, no one else is allowed on board.