Could owners be liable for conversion by retaining bunkers on board the vessel after withdrawal?
In Daebo Shipping Co Ltd v The Ship GO STAR  FCAFC 156, the Federal Court of Australia considered whether, as a matter of English law, head owners could be liable to disponent owners for conversion or detinue as a result of retaining bunkers on board the vessel after lawful withdrawal from the head charter. The court also dealt with a claim for interference with disponent owners’ contractual relations, arising from various notices sent by head owners to the charterers at the end of the chain. The vessel was chartered under a string of time charters on the 1981 NYPE form in the following charterparty chain: SA – BMS – Bluefield – Daebo – Nanyuan…
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A carrier, whose containers had been detained for a long time and seemed to be unlikely to be returned, was found not to have the right to daily liquidated damages for an open-ended period.
The orthodox view is that damages are limited to losses suffered during the overrun period only. Similar issues were explored in a recent judgment from the Commercial Court in the Great Creation.