Tramp Tankers

A war cancellation clause gives both parties a chance to cancel the charter agreement when the freight market has totally changed as a result of war between certain countries or when further trading with the vessel is prevented as a result of requisition or similar action. War cancellation clauses are usually found in long-term charter parties or contracts of affreightment. A war risk clause is usually to be found in all charter agreements and defines war risk. In the Gencon form war risks include “any blockade or any action which is announced as a blockade by any government or by any belligerent or by any organized body, sabotage, piracy and any threatened war, hostilities, war-like operations, civil war, civil commotion or revolution”. In this definition war risks include not only actual war and war-like operations but also the threat of war and war-like operations. It is important to establish the respective parties’ rights and obligations when crew, vessel and cargo are exposed to a war risk. Whether a zone is dangerous is a matter of fact in each case. In Ocean Tramp Tankers Corporation v Sovfracth V/O (1963), during the Suez Canal crisis of 1956 the charterers ordered a vessel, which was chartered under a charter party containing a war clause, to Port Said and allowed her to remain in the canal. The Court held that the zone was dangerous and the charterers were in breach of the clause that the vessel “would not be ordered nor continue in a place which will bring her within a zone which is dangerous”.