Demurrage claim under HEAVYCON 2007

London Arbitration 7/17 involved a demurrage claim under a Heavycon 2007 charter, the first reported decision on this form. The charter involved carriage of two jack-up rigs from Malaysia to India. Indian customs regulations required the vessel to call at an intermediate port to be converted from a “foreign” to “coastal” run. After the rigs had been discharged at the discharge port, the vessel would then have to go back to Port X so that she could be reconverted from “coastal” to “foreign”.  Owners made two demurrage claims. The first was for demurrage accruing at the discharge port which charterers sought to resist, in part, on the basis that it was caused by “reasons beyond the control of the [charterers] such as adverse weather conditions and … deficiency of the Master … officers and crew”.  However, cl13 provided

(b) Demurrage shall be payable for all time used in excess of the free time. Demurrage shall also be payable for any delay whatsoever not caused by the Owner, including waiting on weather…

(c) Free Time shall not count and if the Vessel is on demurrage, demurrage shall not accrue for time lost by reason of deficiency of the Master, officers or crew or strike or lockout of the Master, officers or crew or by reason of breakdown of the Vessel or its equipment.

Demurrage would run from the expiry of free time to the completion of discharge unless charterers could bring themselves within a relevant exception, which they could not.

Owners second demurrage claim was in respect of time from completion of discharge to sailing from the second Indian port at which the vessel was reconverted from “coastal” to “foreign”. The tribunal found that demurrage came to an end on completion of discharge but the majority found that there would be a quantum meruit claim for performance of extra-contractual services. On the return journey, the vessel did not have to take any detour since the intermediate Indian port was directly in the line of the return route and there would be no quantum meruit for the voyage, but there would be for the time spent at that port.

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