Notice of Readiness

Charter parties will always give details as to the tendering of notice of readiness.  This is the written (always written) advice given by the Master (or his agent) to the charterers stating that the vessel is in all respects ready to load/discharge.  Notice of readiness (NOR) clauses will usually spell out the office hours when notice may be tendered and there is often a specific time lapse between the notice being tendered and time commencing to count.  For example the clause may state that notice has to be tendered on a weekday within normal office hours.  The ship could have arrived on Friday evening and work commenced as soon as she tied up but time for the purposes of calculating laytime and any eventual demurrage/despatch will only commence according to the NOR clause (unless the clause provides otherwise). Until a valid notice of readiness is tendered the laytime “clock” does not commence to tick. Even as this course is being compiled there is a case before the courts where a ship would normally have earned substantial demurrage but as the NOR was not valid for some reason, the charterers contend that no time counts at all and the ship actually owes despatch money.  This has yet to be resolved but the mere fact that such an argument is before the courts emphasises the importance of the NOR and its effect on when time commences to count.