In National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia v BP Oil Supply Company [2010] EWHC 3043 (Comm), the Claimant claimed demurrage under a voyage charterparty on an amended BPVOY4 form.

The Claimant had originally only claimed for demurrage in respect of the time spent by the vessel at the discharge port, which claim was settled by the Defendant. At the same time, the Claimant had claimed additional freight in respect of the period during which the vessel was at the load port, which claim was abandoned and replaced by the demurrage claim before the court in this case. This, however, was done after the expiration of the 90 day time bar provided for in the charterparty. The Claimant argued that it was entitled to summary judgment on this claim. The Defendant met this with its own claim for summary judgment, on the point that the claim was barred by the settlement of the discharge port demurrage claim. This settlement, the Defendant argued, had been in respect of any and all demurrage claims under the charterparty. The Defendant also argued that the claim was in any event time barred.

The first issue for the court to decide was whether the agreement reached between the parties settled just the discharge port demurrage claim, or any and all claims for demurrage. The background considered by the court included: the presentation by the Claimant of two separate claims, one for demurrage and one for additional freight, in respect of different periods under the charterparty; the fact that demurrage is a well known entitlement under voyage charters; and the fact that the relevant demurrage invoices included the words “combine all ports”. The court held that the settlement incorporated all and any claims for demurrage. There was only one other period for which demurrage could potentially be claimed, and the Claimant had deliberately made a different claim for additional freight for this period.

Despite reaching this conclusion, the judge also dealt with the time bar issue in his judgment, as the point had been fully argued. He found that on the facts the original claim could not be regarded as substantially the same claim as the demurrage claim now advanced. Further, the Claimant did not comply with the requirement to present all supporting documentation substantiating each and every constituent part of the claim, and could not later rely on documents presented with an entirely separate claim. The court therefore found that even if the settlement had not incorporated any and all claims for demurrage, the Claimant’s later claim would have been time barred.

The Court also dealt with issues of whether the Defendant was liable for (a) the cost of certain bunkers and (b) in damages for breach of an implied term that it would provide a cargo in sufficient time for it to be loaded within the laydays.