HomeCircuit Court Admiralty CasesCharter Parties
Charter Parties

The following are digests and case links to Circuit Court Admiralty Cases that have as an issue charter parties:

Federal Marine Terminals v. Worcester Peat Co.
First Circuit Court of Appeals
August 27, 2001

Charter Parties/Demurrage: Since courts have been reluctant to impose demurrage liability on a party that is neither a signatory, successor nor possessor of a document that expressly or by incorporation refers to demurrage, the loading stevedore who was not in privity will not be liable for demurrage that the shipper was required to pay the vessel due to the delays in loading the cargo of peat moss. Carriage of Goods: The loading stevedore is further not liable for the loss of any peat moss since the shipper failed to provide any reliable evidence of how much peat moss was lost during loading and failed to establish that the amount lost was beyond what was anticipated for this type of cargo.

Louis Dreyfus v. Blystad Shipping & Trading Inc.
Second Circuit Court of Appeals
June 7, 2001

Arbitration/Charter Parties: The charter's New York arbitration clause, which provided that any "dispute arising from the making, performance or termination of this Charter Party" be arbitrated, was a broad arbitration clause. Thus, by implicating the rights of Owner and the duties of Charterer under the charter party, Owner's claims under collateral letters of indemnity given by Charterer in return for discharging cargo without presentation of the bills of lading were within the scope of the broad arbitration clause and were subject to New York arbitration.

U.S. Titan Inc. v. Guangzhou Zhen Hua Shipping
Second Circuit Court of Appeals
February 15, 2001

Arbitration/Charter Parties: The district court correctly held that the parties did not enter into an "ad hoc" agreement to arbitrate whether they had formed a charter party, but that they had formed a charter party that included an arbitration clause requiring London arbitration. Foreign Sovereign Immunity: Although defendant vessel owner was a Chinese state-owned company, it was not immune from petitioner's action to compel arbitration in London in view of the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act's arbitration exception.

Bank One Louisiana v. M/V Mr Dean
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
June 10, 2002

Maritime Liens/Charter Parties: A maritime lien for breach of a charter attaches when the owner places the vessel at the charterer's disposal and remains inchoate until perfected by a breach or discharged by the undisturbed end of the charter.  Thus the charterer's maritime lien for breach of the charter had priority over the bank's preferred ship mortgage since the the vessel was placed at the charterer's disposal before the mortgage was recorded, although the owner's breach of the charter occurred after the mortgage was recorded.

Dahlen v. Gulf Crews, Inc.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
February 4, 2002

Longshore & Harbor Workers' Act/Charter Parties: The standard of care owed a longshore worker by a vessel owner as articulated in Scindia and Howlett does not explicitly apply to time charterers. But, as no other case articulating the duty owed by a time charterer in such a situation could be found, the district court did not abuse its discretion by issuing a jury instruction that applied Scindia to the time charterer. Indemnity: The vessel owner did not owe the time charterer an indemnity under the charter's indemnity and insurance clause since the injury to Plaintiff did not arise out of or relate to the performance of the vessel during the charter. Admiralty Jurisdiction/Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act ("OCSLA"): The district court erred in applying the Admiralty Extension Act, 46 U.S.C. § 740, and maritime law since Plaintiff's alleged injury was not caused by the defective appurtenance of a ship on navigable waters and, furthermore, the OCSLA specifically regards the artificial islands on the OCS as areas where state law should apply unless there is a conflict with federal law. 

Canal Barge Co. v. Torco Oil Co.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
July 20, 2000

Charter Parties: Charterer and cargo supplier held jointly and severally liable to barge owner for failure to pay for the clean-up costs arising from loading a cargo of spent lube oil that left a four inch residue of heavy, tar-like slug. Maritime Torts: The liability of the cargo supplier to the barge owner was not based on contract, but was based on the negligent loading of shore tank bottom residue into the barge. Demurrage/Loss of Use: Charterer and cargo supplier were jointly and severally liable for 76 days of demurrage at the charter party rate of $480 per day due to the loss of use of the barge during clean-up operations.

Armit v. Eleni Intl Shipping
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
January 21, 2000

Charter Parties: The agent of the vessel's time charterer had no actual or apparent authority to bind the vessel's owner or operator/manager to a dock tariff.

Arkansas State Highways Comm. v. Arkansas River Co.
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
October 16, 2001

Seaworthiness/Casualties/Charter Parties: Because the United States Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps"), the owner of the barge, tendered the barge to the tug's captain with a boom that was unobviously raised such that it could not pass safely under a Mississippi River bridge, the barge was unseaworthy on delivery and the Corps was 100% liable for the resulting damages.

Rodriquez v. Bowhead Transportation Co.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
October 26, 2001

Longshore & Harbor Workers' Act/Charter Parties: The time charterer of the vessel did not violate any of the Scindia duties owed by a vessel to a longshore worker and thus was not liable for the injuries suffered by the injured worker. Further, the terminal services agreement between the time charterer and the stevedore employer plainly did not obligate the time charterer to supervise the manner in which the stevedore's employees loaded the cargo.

NATCO Ltd. v. Moran Towing
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
September 28, 2001

Indemnity/Charter Parties: The towage contract's indemnity provision provided that the tug owner would be held harmless from "any and all loss, damage or liability", which allowed the indemnitee tug owner to recover its attorneys fees from the indemnitor cargo owner, including both defense fees and fees expended in pursuing a counter-claim against a third party.

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