In fact, the High Court judgment clarifies previous case law and confirms that a claim for losses separate to the loss of the use of the vessel can be brought, where the only breach of contract is charterers’ failure to load or discharge cargo within the allowed laytime.
Following a relevant case between charterers and owners, Andrew Baker J resolved the uncertainty surrounding owners’ rights to bring a claim for damages in addition to demurrage for losses resulting from delays in cargo operations.
The judge analysed the nature of demurrage, exploring the current academic debate and case law on where damages can be recovered in addition to demurrage for other losses caused by exceeding the allowed laytime.
Concluding, the judgment focused mostly on whether additional damages could be claimed, the decision brought clarity to the principle of demurrage. The scope of demurrage was defined as liquated damages for the loss of use of the vessel and nothing beyond that.