The Pamela

According to the Laconia judgement, this is the time when cash should have been tendered to the nominated bank for crediting to the named account. In Laconia the payment was due by 3 P.M. on a Sunday. On the Monday morning at opening banking hours it had still not been received by the owner’s bank. In the Afovos (1980) a telex of withdrawal was sent by the owners at 16.40 hours on the day the money was due, i.e. well before midnight, up to which time the charterers were quite entitled to pay, if they could, without being accused of defaulting. A telexed notice of withdrawal sent before the time the payment has truly expired is improper. It is recognised that the strictness of the legal rules concerning withdrawal can be harsh on the charterer. Thus these clauses have been introduced which give the charterers a further 48 hours grace in which to pay up before withdrawal proceedings are commenced. The clause will provide for notice that unless hire is paid within 48 hours the owners will withdraw their ship. In The Pamela (1995) the mechanics of the anti-technicality clause were examined. The High Court was asked to review a decision by London arbitrators who had been asked to say whether or not a telex sent by an owner’s broker to the charterers’ office and received on the telex machine at 19 minutes before midnight on a Friday when the office was closed for the weekend and the machine consequently unmanned, constituted effective 48 hours’ notice as required by the charter party’s anti-technicality clause. The arbitrators said that it did not and that notice was only effective as from the time of opening of the charterer’s business on the next working day. The Court endorsed that view and said that common business sense decreed that it could not be expected of a charterer that he would give attention to a telex message received so clearly outside customary business hours.