Ship’s Agents

Masters and ships’ agents should never delay presenting an NOR because of any argument about validity; the cardinal rule has to be ‘when in doubt present the NOR’. If it is not accepted or disputed the NOR can continue to be represented.  The legal experts can argue about whether the timing of the NOR was correct but if presentation was delayed, then so much of the argument is lost before it starts. It is important to bear in mind that the NOR determines at what point the time starts to count – ‘when the meter starts ticking’ as one judge put it.  The Charter party may have various elements of excepted time such as ‘turn time’ which states that time will not commence to count until a period of some hours has elapsed after presentation of the NOR.  This dates back to the days when the first intimation the charterers had of the arrival of the ship was when her signal flags became visible through a telescope and time was needed to arrange the berth, labour etc.  Such turn time may be considered to be an anachronism today when radio enables a vessel’s time of arrival to be estimated within minutes – but old ideas die hard in shipping. A Charter party may be negotiated on the basis of SHEX (Sundays and holidays excepted) or SHINC (Sundays and holidays included) which is more usual at ultra-modern bulk terminals.  A SHEX clause may be modified by the words ‘unless used’ and a ‘time counting’ clause may or may not agree to time counting sooner if work starts before the ‘turn time’ has expired.  Most NOR clauses demand that notice be given in office hours but the charterers could well start work say, on Friday evening, work right through the weekend and have completed before Notice of Readiness can even be tendered! In Muslim countries ‘F’(Friday) will often replace the ‘S’.