The World Symphony

There is nothing to prevent the parties agreeing to include what some call a ‘completion of last voyage clause’ which applies whether the last voyage is legitimate or illegitimate. Such a clause may be found in the Shelltime 3 form (Clause 18). In The World Symphony (1991) it was held that the ‘round voyage’ alluded to in Clause 18 was, on the facts before the court, a combination of a cargo-laden and a ballasted voyage. Thus such a combined voyage, even if it could not reasonably be finally completed by the contractual redelivery date, was legitimate, made so by the express liberty in Clause 18. The owners’ appeal against this decision was dismissed by the Court of Appeal (1992). Shipowner and charterers can now regard the following as generally being the current rule so far as they have to date been formulated by English case law, taking into account particularly the House of Lords’ decision as described above in The Gregos (1995). A precise redelivery date can be tempered by an expressly agreed margin of tolerance. If the parties have not expressly agreed such a margin, the courts will apply one, the amount varying according to the length of the charter period. The charterer, assuming there were no specific provisions on the point, must give a legitimate order (legitimate at the time it was made) for the last voyage. He must redeliver within the charter period, tolerance included (either express or implied). An owner can refuse to perform an illegitimate last voyage. Alternatively, he can opt to perform it, reserving his rights to claim damages for breach of charter by reason of late redelivery. Alternatively again, he can seek from the charterer a substitute order for a legitimate voyage (assuming this is still possible), failure to give which will entitle the shipowner to regard the charter as ended.