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Bunker supplier suing owners for unpaid invoices & owners alleging bunkers were defective

Bunker contracts made it back into spotlight last year after the Houston bunkers saga and will remain so placed, courtesy the 2020 sulphur cap. A HK court recently delivered the judgement in The Arkstar Voyager [2019] focusing on bunker contracts, which many would find of interest.

Initial testing showed fuel was as per ISO 8217:2005. Some 3m later two AEs broke down, allegedly because of poor quality of distillate oil. Sample was taken from tanks and tested with a different lab. Results indicated microbiological contamination.

Contract stated that purchaser must make a note of protest within 21d (read as 30d due to incorporation of SS600) else any claim will be extinguished. The owner raised various defences such as contamination could NOT have been detected in 30d; and that it was not raising a claim but instead was a defence of defective bunkers against the supplier’s claim for price.

Court was having none of it. Claim was time barred. Also there was not enough evidence to show that contamination was present when bunkers were supplied as the last sample had not been taken in the prescribed method in that it was not taken from the manifold at time of delivery.


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