1. Effect of non-payment of hire: After The Astra comes another twist in the tale – =

On 18 April 2013, Flaux J handed down a judgment in Kuwait Rocks Co v AMN Bulkcarriers Inc. (The Astra) that surprised many in the shipping community with its analysis that a charterers’ failure to pay hire amounted to a breach of a condition, thereby entitling an owner not only to cancel the charter and escape future performance but also to claim damages for the unperformed part. The recent judgment of Popplewell J in Spar Shipping AS v Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co., Ltd, handed down on 18 March 2015, challenges that conclusion in a thorough and significant review of this important area of law.

  1. Dawn of a new era of low emission – Issue 1

In a series of articles, Bethan Bradley and Chris Moxon examine the legal issues arising from the   modern drive for environmentally aware shipping, following the entry into force on 1 January 2015 of the requirement for 0.1% sulphur in fuel oil within designated Emission Control Areas (ECAs).

  1. The “GREAT CREATION” – What can a shipowner recover when a charterer gives less than the agreed notice for redelivery 

In Maestro Bulk Ltd v Cosco Bulk Carrier Ltd (The “GREAT CREATION”) [2014] EWHC 3978 (Comm) the High Court considered the approach to be adopted in calculating damages where charterers are in breach of charterparty for not giving sufficient notice of redelivery.

  1. The “OCEAN VICTORY” – Court of Appeal clarifies “abnormal occurrence” in a safe port warranty 

The Court of Appeal overturned the first instance decision in the matter of the “OCEAN VICTORY” and found that time charterers had not directed the vessel to an unsafe port. In the process, the Court clarified what constitutes an “abnormal occurrence” in the context of a safe port warranty.

  1. What delay counts towards cancellation? 

With tumbling oil prices and projects being mothballed or cancelled, knock-on effects are to be expected. Offshore contractors with vessels or rigs under construction in yards are less likely to be tolerant of construction delays than they would otherwise be, and may consider cancellation. The recent Commercial Court decision in Zhoushan Jinhaiwan Shipyard Co Ltd v Golden Exquisite Inc & Others [2014] EWHC 4050 provides a timely look at cancellation rights in the context of delay.

  1. Ship arrest in China – Increased clarity from the Supreme People’s Court 

On 28 February 2015, the Supreme People’s Court of PRC published the Regulations on Certain Issues Concerning the Application of Law Relating to Arrest and Auction of Ships which came into force on 1 March 2015.