No notice required before suspending performance under Supplytime 1989

The Commercial Court has recently determined a question of law arising under the Supplytime 1989 charterparty form. The dispute arose in connection with Clause 10(e) of the form which provides for a right, where there has been a failure to pay hire, to withdraw the vessel and/or to suspend performance under the contract.

Due to the non-payment of hire, the owners suspended the provision of the vessel’s services under the charterparty. The owners submitted in arbitration that there was no obligation under the Supplytime 1989 form to give notice before exercising that right. The relevant part of Clause 10(e) of the Supplytime 1989 form reads: “While payment remains due Owners shall be entitled to suspend the performance of any and all of their obligations hereunder…”

By contrast, the charterers submitted that there was an express or implied requirement that the owners would give five banking days’ notice before suspending performance. Amongst other arguments, the charterers relied upon an earlier part of Clause 10(e) which, in relation to the right to withdraw, reads: “In default of payment as herein specified, Owners may require Charterers to make a payment of the amount due within 5 banking days of receipt of notification from Owners; failing which Owners shall have the right to withdraw the vessel…”

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