Award 1236 – C/P Heavyliftvoy – Transportation and laying down of marine turbine at sea and connection to cable of terrestrial grid – Departure from the spot before work completion – Chartering contract or business contract – Freight deemed earned and non- returnable (yes) – Counter-claim time-barred (no) – Shipowner gross negligence (no).
The charter-party related to the loading and transportation of a marine turbine until its laying down to sea bottom (main scope). An option, declared by the charterer, provided in addition for the lifting of the immersed main cable for connection to the marine turbine followed by laying it down to the same spot as the turbine (optional scope). Two lump sums freight covered, one the main scope and the other the optional scope. Some difficulties of positioning led the parties to reverse the process by carrying out the laying down before the connection. After a failed attempt, the ship abandoned the operation and left the spot.
The Shipowner claimed the freight balance when the Charterer counter-claimed the redeeming of various damages and expenses involved to finish the work to which the shipowner opposed time-bar. The arbitral Tribunal considered that the C/P covered two types of contracts, one concerning the transportation of the marine turbine and the laying down, and the other, of business nature, related to the cable connection which was outside the range of a voyage charter. Therefore, if according to the C/P the freight was indeed deemed earned and non- returnable, it was only for the main scope for which the charterer owed the freight balance. The Tribunal decided that the counter-claim was not time-barred. However, denying gross negligence by the Shipowner, and in accordance with the C/ P, it limited the claim related to the Charterer’s expenses to the difference between the two freight lump sums increased with the cost of a new insurance contract the Charterer had to subscribe following the Shipowner’s failure to perform the full contract. Lastly, the claim concerning an insurance franchise was rejected as depending on negotiations between each party and their insurers.