Court construes in-transit loss clause in voyage charterparty — Trafigura Beheer BV v Navigazione Montanari Spa (Valle di Cordoba)

The Commercial Court has recently considered the meaning of the expression ‘in-transit loss’ (ITL) in a voyage charterparty.

The Valle di Cordoba was attacked during the voyage by pirates, who forced the crew to transfer some of the motor oil cargo onto a lightering vessel and stole it. The court held that the transferred cargo was not ‘in-transit loss’ or ‘lost cargo’ within the meaning of the ITL clause in the charterparty. So the owners were not liable for the loss. The court further held that if it was wrong on this the owners could nonetheless rely on the protection of the charterparty exceptions clause, which incorporated the Hague-Visby Rules exceptions.

Ince & Co acted for the successful owners. The decision is important because of the nature of the alleged ITL that was claimed. In addition, if the owners had been held liable, they would have lost their P&I cover because of the standard provisions in club rules, providing that club cover is lost if owners agree to a regime that is more onerous for them than the Hague-Visby Rules regime…

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