Commencement of Laytime

A prerequisite for the calculation of lay time is the establishment and acceptance by both the owner and charterer as to the exact time that laytime begins. Disagreement may give rise to further disputes between the contracting parties. For laytime to have commenced, a vessel must have arrived at the place where cargo operations are to be performed. The ship must be legally and physically an arrived ship, the master must have tendered notice of readiness that must be true and valid, and thus the ship must have passed customs and health authority inspections. If the vessel berths on arrival without delay, there can be no disagreement as to when the vessel is ready and the clock starts, but if there is a delay the situation is less clear. Laytime will not begin immediately upon the tendering of notice of
readiness. Charter parties specify that subject to the clauses mentioned above, laytime will begin after the lapse of a period of time-for in- stance, upon the expiration of six hours after the receipt of the notice of readiness or upon the vessel’s arrival at berth, whichever occurs first. Charter parties may indicate that if notice of readiness is given after 12:00 noon, then lay time will begin at 6:00 a.m. the following working day, or if given prior to 12:00 noon, it may begin at 1:00 p.m. the same day. Alternatively the charter party may indicate that lay time will commence twelve hours after the notice of readiness is tendered. When a vessel is delayed from getting into berth after giving notice of readiness for any reason over which the charterer has no control, such delay shall not count as used lay time.
It goes without saying that cargo operations cannot commence before the vessel and its holds are inspected and found in all respects clean and fit for receiving the intended cargo. The tanker industry almost universally adopts seventy-two hours, Sundays and holidays included (SHINC), as the lay time allowance. Clause 7 of the ASBATANKVOY charter party indicates the occurrences in which time so lost will not count as lay time.