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Shipping & International Trade

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Letters of Credit under commodity contracts – keep the focus

Published on 17 August 2018. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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This blog takes a look at the issues concerning the timing of the provision of letters of credit under commodity contracts and the importance, from both the buyer's and seller's perspective, of keeping an "eye on the ball".

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Arbitration awards and fraud revisited

10 May 2018

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The English Court of Appeal has rejected a further attempt by the buyers of goods to set aside enforcement of a CIETAC arbitration award on grounds of fraud.

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Sabotage at sea - The LADY M

13 February 2018

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In The LADY M, the English Commercial Court held that shipowners could rely on the Hague-Visby Rules fire defence even when the fire was set by the crew (without owners’ knowledge). In so doing, the admiralty concept of barratry received rare consideration by the Courts.

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Commodity specification breach – can I reject?

Published on 23 January 2018. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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A common question which arises in day to day commodity trading is whether a buyer can reject goods which do not meet the specifications set out in the contract. This blog discusses the factors which commonly come into play in determining that question.

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To sue in debt or damages? A documentary credit dilemma

Published on 14 November 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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A good presentation under a letter of credit gives rise to a claim in debt against the issuing or confirming bank. But that debt claim is lost if, in the face of a rejection of the documents, the beneficiary takes the documents back. In those circumstances the beneficiary must ask itself the question "Do I want my documents back?"

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Liability for commencement of approach voyage under voyage charters - absolute?

Published on 25 October 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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A recent judgment of the Commercial Court examines a novel point in respect of the obligation on an owner under a voyage charter to get the vessel to the load port when the charter contains a cancelling date but no expected readiness to load date or load port ETA.

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Show me the money – turning liens into cash

24 August 2017

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Most charterparties give owners the right to lien cargo for unpaid hire or freight. However, it may be necessary to sell the cargo in order to obtain payment. The English Commercial Court has recently considered the circumstances in which it would be prepared to order the sale of cargo held under a shipowners' lien.

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Odd but clear contract lines not to be disturbed by the Court

Published on 24 July 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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In a recent Commercial Court decision on the construction of a tailored demurrage provision in a charterparty, the Court refused to rewrite the parties agreement regarding demurrage merely because "it might be thought odd".

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Know your (package) limitations

21 July 2017

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High Court decision clarifying application of the Hague-Visby Rules (HVR) to sea waybills and package limitation for containerised goods

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I see no ships – condition precedents under FOB contracts

Published on 13 July 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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A recent judgment of the Commercial Court suggests that a FOB buyer can be excused from nominating a vessel by an unaccepted renunciation of contract by a seller. This blog questions the court's approach in this case and examines the basic principles engaged.

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Blog

Payment against letters of indemnity – is it safe?

Published on 03 July 2017. By Stuart Shepherd, Partner

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In the commodity trading world, it is traditional for payment to be made by the buyer against the presentation by the seller of certain shipping documents including bills of lading. That is the case whether payment is to be made under a letter of credit (LC) or by direct tender of documents to the buyer. However, a common practice has developed, particularly in the oil trade, for parties to agree in their contracts that the seller may, instead of presenting shipping documents to trigger payment, present a letter of indemnity instead. But there are risks to the buyer in paying against such letters of indemnity.

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"NEW FLAMENCO" – Supreme Court reverses Court of Appeal

30 June 2017

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In a shock decision, the Supreme Court has allowed shipowners' appeal in the "NEW FLAMENCO". The Supreme Court held that the sale of the ship following the repudiation of the charterparty was not an act in mitigation, and was not relevant to the calculation of damages for breach of contract.

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Pushing the (port) limits

11 May 2017

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The recent case of Navalmar UK Ltd v Kale Maden Hammaddeler Sanayi ve Ticaret AS [2017] EWHC 116 (Comm) essentially re-affirmed the principles set out in the well know case of The Joanna Oldendorff [1973] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 285, dealing with when a vessel was an arrived ship and what must be considered in deciding the limits of the port. However, as this case demonstrates, it remains a matter of fact as to whether a vessel is within the port limits or not.

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"Fraud unravels all" – or does it?

20 February 2017

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The English Commercial Court has upheld the enforcement of a foreign arbitration award against a buyer of goods even though the seller submitted forged bills of lading under the letter of credit

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Security for costs – be reasonable!

07 February 2017

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A recent Judgment in Hong Kong on a security for costs application reinforces the wide discretion of the Court as to the form and quantum of security which should be accepted

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An acceptable degree of uncertainty

26 October 2016

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Certainty, we are told, is a good thing, as a matter of both legal principle and commercial common sense. Certainty means predictability, which companies and merchants value because it allows them to plan and make decisions in the knowledge of the likely outcomes. This has been a major feature of English commercial law since at least the time of Lord Mansfield.

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Supreme Court clarifies the impact of a "collateral lie" made by an assured during the claims process

Published on 12 August 2016. By Hugh Thomas, Senior Associate

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The Supreme Court has ruled that a lie told by an assured during the course of a claim presentation will not necessarily invalidate the assured's right to recover under his insurance.

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Time Charters corrected on underperformance

07 July 2016

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High Court narrows shipowners' defences to an underperformance claim

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Take it to the limit (but no further)

06 May 2016

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In a recent judgment handed down on 12 April 2016, the Hong Kong Admiralty Court examined whether or not crew members' acts or omissions could be regarded as a shipowner's personal acts or omissions for the purposes of breaking limitation under the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 ("LLMC") [FN1].

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What's in a name? Time Charter Trips explored

25 April 2016

The time charter trip or "TCT" is a common hybrid, with attributes of both time and voyage charters.

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Is arbitration stifling the common law?

31 March 2016

Recent comments by the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales have reignited a debate over the balance between finality in arbitration and consideration of important points of law by the Courts.

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Down in Flame(s)

29 February 2016

What is the value of money? In a recent Commercial Court decision, it was held that the right to redirect the payment of money (or to give it away) is as valuable as the right to have the money paid into one's own bank account.

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Keep your word! Hong Kong Court enforces indemnity for delivery of cargo without original bills

15 February 2016

Shipowners are well aware of the perils of releasing cargo without production of an original bill of lading. In particular, they are likely to lose P&I cover in the event of a misdelivery claim.

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Arbitrations and anti-suit injunctions – a Hong Kong perspective

26 January 2016

In some jurisdictions (notably Mainland China and Australia), local law does not give effect to the incorporation of arbitration clauses into bills of lading.

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The "NEW FLAMENCO" – back in step

15 January 2016

Court of Appeal overturns High Court and holds that a 'capital' benefit obtained following the sale of a vessel on her early redelivery can reduce a damages claim for repudiatory breach of charterparty.

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Speed & Consumption – good weather daze?

05 January 2016

The High Court of England & Wales has overturned an arbitration Award in a rare appeal on a performance dispute[1].

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Anti-suit injunctions – do not delay

16 December 2015

The recent judgment of the English Commercial Court in Essar Shipping Ltd v Bank of China Ltd[1] has highlighted the importance of applying for anti-suit injunctions swiftly once the dispute arises.

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Ballast Water Management Convention likely to come in 2016

14 December 2015

Three countries, Monaco, Indonesia and Ghana, ratified the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, during the recent IMO Biennial Assembly Meeting, in London.

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The "RES COGITANS" – still no relief for shipowners in OW Bunker saga

30 October 2015

In an eagerly-awaited decision, the English Court of Appeal has unanimously upheld the conclusion of the Commercial Court (itself affirming a decision of London maritime arbitrators) that a bunker supply contract on the OW Bunker terms is not a "contract of sale of goods" to which the Sale of Goods 1979 Act applies[1].

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Damages for repudiation of a voyage charter

11 September 2015

The compensatory principle explored The High Court of England & Wales has reviewed the application of the standard compensatory principle in common law to voyage charters repudiated by their charterers, in an appeal from an arbitral Award[1].

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Marine Insurance: Current Good Faith Rules Continue To Cause Blot On The Landscape?

Published on 04 September 2015. By Iain Anderson, Partner

We have less than twelve months until insurance contracts written under English law will be subject to the new provisions of the English Insurance Act 2015.

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No relief for late commencement of arbitration

14 August 2015

Once upon a time, if one was unfortunate enough to miss a contractual, as opposed to statutory, time limit for commencing arbitration, relief could be sought and often obtained from the High Court under Section 27 of the Arbitration Act 1950.

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When is a sale contract not a sale contract?

15 July 2015

Most people reading this article would probably say that, even if they could not define a sale contract, they would know one when they saw it.

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Not just a question of timing – Supreme Court rules on the assessment of damages for premature cancellation

14 July 2015

The Supreme Court has held that a party could only recover nominal damages for premature cancellation (repudiation) of a sales contract on GAFTA Form 49[1].

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Pushing the (tonnage) limits

17 June 2015

This update highlights two recent changes in tonnage limits – one international, the other in Hong Kong.

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Charterparty arbitration clauses: too much of a good thing?

29 April 2015

It is a fact of commercial life that, at least with the benefit of hindsight, contracts are not always drafted clearly.

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Enforcing jurisdiction agreements in the EU – Brussels casts out "abusive litigation tactics"

22 April 2015

Disputes over jurisdiction (i.e. where a claim is heard and determined) are commonplace in shipping and international trade.

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New Compulsory Marine Liability Insurance Gives Shipowners and their Insurers the Blues

Published on 02 April 2015. By Iain Anderson, Partner

The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007 comes into force later this month (18 April 2015 and 17 May 2015 for Malta and Tuvalu respectively, but 14 April 2015 for all other contracting states, including the UK).

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Hong Kong expected to introduce mandatory low-sulphur fuel regulations

12 March 2015

Many vessels currently calling to Hong Kong voluntarily burn low-sulphur fuel, in return for financial incentives under a scheme introduced by the Government in 2012.

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An uncharacteristic appeal: Ocean Victory decision reversed

24 February 2015

Charterers (and their insurers) concerned by the first instance decision in The "Ocean Victory" may rest a little easier following the successful appeal which saw Daiichi Chuo overturn a judgment of over US$130 million against them.

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Cocaine Haul Leads to Limitations on War Risk Exclusion

Published on 23 December 2014. By Hugh Thomas, Senior Associate

It is a sad fact that drug traffickers like to use ocean-going vessels to help them move their product.

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Singapore High Court allows extension of time in collision case despite multiple opportunities to arrest.

15 December 2014

Following a collision between ORINOCO STAR and MELODY in Nigerian waters on 20 June 2011 and subsequent unsuccessful settlement negotiations between the parties, owners of the vessel MELODY issued a writ and proceeded to arrest ORINOCO STAR on 6 December 2013.

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OW Bunker update – Hong Kong company applies for winding-up

24 November 2014

Hong Kong Court records available publicly today show that a Petition was presented last Friday to wind up O.W. Bunker China Ltd (a Hong Kong company).

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Bunker disputes – Bankruptcy of OW Bunker A/S and associated companies

19 November 2014

We are receiving numerous enquiries regarding the fallout from the bankruptcy of OW Bunker A/S and certain associated companies.

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Container weight fraud

14 November 2014

Container weights is a hot topic at the moment, with the IMO set to introduce new requirements for the verification of container gross mass.

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Court rejects "capital" punishment

07 November 2014

Appeal considers relevance of ship sale following early redelivery

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AIS assisted collisions

06 November 2014

The term "VHF assisted collision" is not new.

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New Safety and Health Guidelines to Protect Seafarers

06 November 2014

The International Labour Organisation has agreed guidelines to assist governments in implementing occupational safety and health provisions previously set down in the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.

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Hong Kong's top court confirms loss of cover

03 November 2014

The importance of complying with insurance warranties

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