In Ocean Pride Maritime Limited Partnership v Qingdao Ocean Shipping Co – Butterworths Law Direct 27.11.07 the dispute arose under a voyage charter governed by English law and jurisdiction. Clause 6B provided that notice of readiness could be tendered after arrival of the vessel at the inner harbour area, including the inner anchorage, of the loading port, and only at the outer anchorage if compelled to do so by congestion. The vessel arrived and anchored in the outer anchorage off Guaiba Island Terminal in November 2005. It was not prevented from entering the inner anchorage by congestion. Nevertheless, it tendered notice of readiness at 0550 on 17 November 2005, which was accepted by the terminal.
The owners contended that under the charter, notice could be tendered validly at the outer anchorage off the terminal; clause 6B had to give way to the other provisions in the charter which allowed the tender of the notice 'whether in berth or not, whether in port or not, whether customs clearance or not, whether in free pratique or not'. In any event, the charterers were estopped from contending otherwise due to the terminal's acceptance of the notice tendered. The charterers accepted that, absent cl 6B, the owners would have been entitled to tender notice at the outside anchorage, but contended that the terms of cl 6B meant they could not. They further argued that such acceptance of the notice had been by the terminal, not by the charterers themselves, and that there had been no unequivocal representation by the charterers and in any event no reliance by the owners capable of giving rise to waiver.
It was held that if a charter provided, whether expressly or by implication, that a notice of readiness could be given to someone other than the charterer, that person could waive any defect in the notice.
On the facts, cl 6B did not permit notice to be given in the circumstances that obtained at the time the vessel purported to do so. The owners were not entitled to tender the notice because the vessel had not been compelled to wait at the outer anchorage on arrival due to unavailability of space at the inner anchorage. However, by reason of the terminal's acceptance of the notice of readiness, as communicated and confirmed, the charterers were taken to have waived, and were therefore not entitled to invoke, the invalidity thereof by reason of its tender when the vessel was at the outer anchorage, though not compelled to wait there by reason of congestion at the inner anchorage.
The owners' demurrage claim therefore succeeded in full.