GAFTA 49 Notice of Delivery provisions apply to nomination of substitute vessel.

In Ramburs Inc v Agrifert SA [2015] EWHC 3548 (Comm) the High Court has considered the effect of notice provisions in an fob sale when the buyer nominates a substitute vessel. The sale provided for delivery between 15 to 31 March 2013. The buyer was to provide the seller with not less than 10 days’ “pre-advice” of, among other things, the collecting vessel’s name, dimensions and estimated time of arrival. The contract was also subject to the terms of GAFTA 49. Clause 6 “Period of Delivery” provides:

“Buyers shall serve not less than … consecutive day’s [sic] notice of the name and probable readiness date of the vessel and the estimated tonnage required. The Sellers shall have the goods ready to be delivered to the Buyers at any time within the contract period of delivery. Buyers have the right to substitute the nominated vessel, but in any event the original delivery period and any extension shall not be affected thereby. Provided the vessel is presented at the loading port in readiness to load within the delivery period, Sellers shall if necessary complete loading after the delivery period, and carrying charges shall not apply”.

The buyer nominated a vessel on 20 March 2013 with eta 26/27 March and on 26 March nominated a substitute vessel with eta 28 March. The seller asserted that the nomination was invalid and terminated the contract. Andrew Smith J overturned the award of the GAFTA Board of Appeal in favour of the buyer and held that where an FOB buyer nominated a substitute vessel pursuant to its right under GAFTA 49, it had to comply with the terms of the contract of sale as to nomination and pre-advice in respect of the substitute vessel. The GAFTA wording did not constitute a complete code defining and limiting the right to substitution, and did not dispense with any requirement for pre-notice in respect of the substituted vessel.

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Professor Simon Baughen

Professor Simon Baughen was appointed as Professor of Shipping Law in September 2013 (previously Reader at the University of Bristol Law School). Simon Baughen studied law at Oxford and practised in maritime law for several years before joining academia. His research interests lie mainly in the field of shipping law, but also include the law of trusts and the environmental law implications of the activities of multinational corporations in the developing world. Simon's book on Shipping Law, has run to seven editions (soon to be eight) and is already well-known to academics and students alike as by far the most learned and approachable work on the subject. Furthermore, he is now the author of the very well-established practitioner's work Summerskill on Laytime. He has an extensive list of publications to his name, including International Trade and the Protection of the Environment, and Human Rights and Corporate Wrongs - Closing the Governance Gap. He has also written and taught extensively on commercial law, trusts and environmental law. Simon is a member of the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, a University Research Centre within the School of Law, and he currently teaches at Swansea on the LLM in:Carriage of Goods by Sea, Land and Air; Charterparties Law and Practice; International Corporate Governance.

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