UK Supreme Court Decision – “Utmost Despatch”

CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services SA -v- Mitsui OSK Lines (“Pacific Voyager”)

Despite the owners have reserved their rights to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, it is an important decision for the charters with “utmost despatch” clause without ETA/ERTL (expected ready to load).

The Court of Appeal confirmed that if the parties agreed on the obligation that the vessel must proceed to the load port utmost despatch; the intention is to give the charterers comfort. Even the C/P does not contain ETA/ERTL, if a charter contains an ETA for the previous discharge port or an itinerary for the previous charter, the general principle will be the same and the reasonable time would be such time as it is reasonable to suppose the vessel would leave for the load port once a reasonable time for discharging had elapsed at the previous port.