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Crew change clauses & deviation - who bears the risk of delays?

C/P clauses entitling owners to deviate for crew change were and perhaps still are necessary. What if after carrying out the crew change, the vessel gets delayed while enroute to discharge port. Who bears the risk for time lost – owner or charterer? In London Arbitration 11/22, bad weather was the event and charterers were holding owners liable for additional time, bunkers, and costs.

Vessel loaded in Japan and proceeded to Vietnam for crew change before continuing its voyage to the discharge port. After departing from Vietnam, the vessel encountered bad weather. Not only did this delay arrival but she also had to wait at anchor for a berth. Charterers made deductions for the delay caused by bad weather. They interpreted the deviation clause as owners having taken responsibility for any additional time, bunkers, and costs arising by reason of the deviation.

The clause: “Charterers allowed Owners change crew at Vietnam port after loading at sole load port.…But the deviation time/bunker/costs to be at Owners’ time/account.…”

As per the Tribunal the first question was when did the deviation end and second, were the owners responsible for bad wx delay after departure from Vietnam. As for the first, they said that deviation ended after crew change. In their words ‘A deviation was a temporary departure from the navigational route, which took place during a voyage; it was not the full voyage as altered by it’.

As for the next question, the Tribunal agreed that in some circumstances deviation can increase the risk of loss or damage. The underlying principle is ‘loss is not caused by deviation unless the deviation has increased the risk of the loss or damage in question occurring on the remainder of the voyage’. Bad weather encountered here was an ordinary risk as opposed to an increased risk, and the consequences fell on the charterer. That was the default position under the clause. A different result required the clause to be worded differently also.

Owners were able to claim the outstanding balance.


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