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Laytime stops if discharge is delayed by government interferences?

Submitting false documents for clearance of cargo is never a good idea. In the case of The Muammer Yagci [2018], it led to a 4.5 month delay in discharging. Owner put in a claim for [substantial] demurrage. Charterer relied on an exceptions provision in C/P which allowed the laytime to stop if disch. was delayed by government interferences. Was this the case?

Receivers (acting for charterers) submitted import docs to local customs for inward clearance / assessment of duties. Authorities noted that price was wrongly mentioned (an attempt to achieve an illegal transfer of capital abroad in breach of foreign exchange regs.) and cargo of sugar was seized. Arbitrators held for owners.

‘Interference’ as per the court meant an intervention, being an act of govt. through its agency and this event fell squarely within the clause. It went on to say that the decision did not offend commercial common sense. Owners tried drawing a difference between govt. interfering in an unanticipated manner and one that was expected. Wording of the cl. however did not aid their argument.

Welcome guidance on interpretation of FM cl. in Sugar'99 C/P form, but LSTL in a recent article has criticized the decision & said that a more restrictive interpretation [against charterers] was needed.

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