Shipowner Reasonable Dispatch

In every contract of carriage requires the shipowner or carrier to perform his contractual obligations with reasonable dispatch. Whenever no time is specified for a particular obligation there is an implied obligation to complete the performance within a reasonable time. Thus in a voyage charter there is an implied undertaking that the vessel will proceed on the voyage, load and discharge at the time agreed or within a reasonable time. Likewise in a time charter, the master is expected to prosecute each voyage with
the ‘utmost dispatch’. Performance of this obligation is judged, not on a strictly objective basis, but in relation to what can reasonably be expected from the shipowner under the actual circumstances existing at the time of performance. ‘When the language of the contract does not expressly, or by necessary implication, fix any time for the performance of a contractual obligation, the law implied that it shall be performed within a reasonable time. The rule is of general application, and is not confined to contracts for the carriage of goods by sea. In the case of other contracts the condition of reasonable time has been frequently interpreted; and has invariably been held to mean that the party upon whom it is incumbent duly fulfils his obligations notwithstanding protracted delay, so long as such delay is attributable to causes beyond his control, and he has neither acted negligently nor unreasonably.’