Voyage Charters

Page 653

Chapter 19

Cancelling Clause

10. Cancelling clause 120
  Should the vessel not be ready to load (whether in berth or not) on 121
  or before the date indicated in Box 19, Charterers have the option 122
  of cancelling this contract, such option to be declared, if demanded, 123
  at least 48 hours before the vessel’s expected arrival at port of loading 124
  Should the vessel be delayed on account of average or otherwise, 125
  Charterers to be informed as soon as possible, and if the vessel is 126
  delayed for more than 10 days after the day she is stated to be 127
  expected ready to load, Charterers have the option of cancelling this 128
  contract, unless a cancelling date has been agreed upon. 129

Nature of the rights derived from the cancelling clause

19.1 The cancelling clause gives the charterer an express contractual right to terminate the charterparty if the vessel is not ready in accordance with the requirements of the charter by a particular named date or time. This contractual right is separate and distinct from any other rights a party may have to terminate the charter; “it does not destroy a right which exists in either party to terminate a contract if an event has happened which frustrates the commercial adventure …”1 19.2 The charterer’s right to terminate does not depend on any breach by the owner. Next is the cancelling clause. Its effect is that, although there may have been no breach by the owners nevertheless the charterers are, for their own protection, entitled to cancel if the vessel is not delivered in a proper condition by the cancelling date. That is the sole effect.2 Therefore, it is irrelevant to the operation of the clause that the vessel is prevented from meeting the cancelling date by an excepted peril.

The vessel was chartered to a load port at three safe places and then to proceed to London and discharge with perils of the seas always excepted. The cancelling clause gave the charterers an option to cancel if the vessel was not at the first loading port in free pratique and ready to load by 15 December 1881. She arrived off the first loading port, Burriana, on 13 December but could not enter the port or obtain free pratique because of heavy weather until 17 December. The charterers meanwhile cancelled the charter on 16 December. The jury found that Burriana was a safe loading place.

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