Time Charters


Utmost Despatch

Utmost Despatch

  • “76. 8. That the Captain shall prosecute his voyages with the utmost despatch, and shall render all customary assistance with ship’s crew and
  • 77. boats… ”
18.1 Under a time charter, the owners promise to provide the charterers with the services of the chartered ship. To that end, under Clause 8 of the New York Produce form, the owners promise that (1) the master will follow the charterers’ orders as to how the ship is to be employed (an undertaking considered in the next chapter); (2) the voyages that the ship undertakes will be performed with “the utmost despatch”; and (3) the master will ensure that his crew provide “all customary assistance” with the ship’s trading.

Prosecution of voyage

18.2 There may be a failure to prosecute the voyage with the utmost despatch where, without good reason, the master sails at reduced speed (The Pearl C ); or takes a route other than the shortest and quickest (The Hill Harmony, below); or puts into, or delays at, a port of refuge unnecessarily (Istros (Owners) v. Dahlstrom (1930) 38 Ll.L.Rep. 84 and , below); or refuses to put into a port to which he has been ordered by the charterers (The Charalambos N. Pateras ); or prevents the loading or discharge of cargo (The Agios Giorgis and , above).

The Hill Harmony, a bulk carrier of 15,622 gross tons, was sub-chartered on an amended New York Produce form incorporating the Hague-Visby Rules. In January and again in April 1994, the master ignored orders from the sub-charterers (based on the advice of a weather routing service) to use the great circle route for a voyage from Vancouver to Japan and sailed instead by the more southerly and longer rhumb line route, considerably extending the time taken for each voyage. The sub-charterers deducted from hire in respect of the extra time used and bunkers consumed, claiming that the disponent owners were in breach of Clause 8, in that the master had failed to prosecute the voyages with the utmost despatch and had not obeyed their orders as regards employment.

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