Voyage Charters

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Chapter 54

Jason Clause

[Clause 20(b) continued]
(ii) JASON CLAUSE. In the event of accident, danger, damage or disaster before or after the commencement of the voyage, resulting from any cause whatsoever, whether due to negligence or not, for which, or for the consequence of which, the Owner is not responsible, by statute, contract or otherwise, the cargo shippers, consignees or owners of the cargo shall contribute with the Owner in General Average to the payment of any sacrifices, losses or expenses of a General Average nature that may be made or incurred and shall pay salvage and special charges incurred in respect of the cargo. If a salving ship is owned or operated by the Owner, salvage shall be paid for as fully as if the said salving ship or ships belonged to strangers. Such deposit as the Owner or his agents may deem sufficient to cover the estimated contribution of the cargo and any salvage and special charges thereon shall, if required, be made by the cargo, shippers, consignees or owners of the cargo to the carrier before delivery.
[Clause 20(b) is continued in the next chapter]
54.1 This standard clause (in this form often referred to as a New Jason Clause) is designed to deal with specific problems which arise under U.S. law concerning general average and salvage.

General average

54.2 The main purpose of this clause is to preserve the owner’s right to general average contribution, even though the peril that gives rise to the general average is caused by the negligence or other fault of the owner or his servants, as long as the owner is exonerated under the contract of carriage or by statute from the consequences of that fault, for example, by the Hague Rules exception of fault in the navigation or management of the ship. When general average is adjusted in accordance with English law and practice, the clause is unnecessary, since fault or negligence that is not actionable is no bar to recovery.1 54.3 The clause in its original form (known as a Jason Clause) was drafted, with the wording of the Harter Act2 in mind, in such a manner as to encourage the argument that any failure to exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy would deprive the owner of the right to general average, whether or not the failure was causative of the casualty that gave rise to the general average. However, where the clause is incorporated into a contract governed by English law, the courts have treated it as surplusage, and not detracting from the owner’s usual right to recover general average as long as the casualty was not caused by his actionable fault.3

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54.4 The second sentence of the clause purports to entitle the owner, who renders salvage services through another ship owned or operated by him, to salvage remuneration as if the salvage services were rendered by a stranger. The utility of this provision in English law is doubtful, since under English law the owner of a salving vessel in the same ownership as the carrying vessel has never been debarred by that fact from claiming salvage from the owners of cargo on board the carrying vessel, even in the absence of such a clause.4 The law of salvage is now codified by the International Convention on Salvage 1989, enacted in English law by the Merchant Shipping Act 1995,5 but the Convention does not appear to affect English law on this topic as stated above. On the contrary, the Convention abolishes the rule which disqualified the owner of a salving vessel from claiming salvage in respect of services rendered to another vessel also owned by him.6 The only relevant limitation contained in the Convention is that the services rendered must “exceed what can reasonably be considered as due performance of a contract entered into before the danger arose”.7 This requirement appears to be unaffected by any provisions of the clause. 54.5 However, the rule in English law is that if the peril which necessitated the salvage services was brought about by the actionable fault of the owner, his claim for salvage, even if rendered through another ship owned by him, will fail for circuity of action.8 This rule also appears to be unaffected by the Convention, and the provisions of clause 20(b)(ii) contain nothing which enables the owner to escape from its consequences. However, if the owner’s liability in respect of his fault is limited by statute or by the contract of carriage, he may be entitled to recover the value of the salvage services to the extent that it exceeds the limit of his liability.9


54.6 The last sentence of the clause purports to entitle the owner to require the parties specified in the clause to pay a deposit to him or his agent, in an amount which he deems sufficient, to cover the estimated contribution of the cargo to general average, salvage or special charges.10 These provisions must be read in conjunction with those contained in clause 20(b) (iii), which specify in more detail the terms on which deposits in respect of general average and salvage are to be held.11

U.S. Law

54A.1 See , above.