近期航速油耗索赔相关伦敦仲裁案件分析及启示

发布时间:2020-01-29 20:14:54  来源:航运界     专家:中国船东互保协会

摘要:

航运实践中,船东和租船人经常因为船舶状况、天气状况以及租约条款等原因产生航速和油耗方面的争议。由于气导公司具有较专业和先进的数据收集和统计方法,其报告也相对客观。当事双方通常会聘用第三方气导公司出具专业评估报告来解决争议。在较早的案件中,船东和租船人在租船合同中对好天气标准、航速油耗保证、洋流因素、航速油耗的计算方式等都没有非常具体的规定。随着各种争议的出现和解决,租船合同对此约定越来越明确,船东也可以通过对各项可能产生争议的标准进行明确以避免争议。近期在两起伦敦仲裁案的裁决中,面对相对专业的气导公司报告,仲裁庭仍然做出了对船东有利的裁决。

 

 

一、伦敦仲裁案 London Arbitration 26/19

该案中船东与租船人基于NYPE93标准格式订立航次期租合同,执行从Recalada到Kuwait的一个航次,船东与租船人就船舶航速油耗有关的一笔租金扣减产生了争议。

   
     1.    租船合同中相关条款
Clause 46 – Deductions
Charterers are entitled to deduct from last sufficient hire paymentsonly value of bunkers on redelivery. Owners’ expenses to be covered by Owners withagents directly unless Owners request Charterers to do so, in which case suchamount to be deducted from next hire payment.
Clause 67 – Weather Routing
The Charterers may supply an independent weather bureau advice tothe Master, during voyages specified by the Charterers and the Master shallcomply with the reporting procedure of the weather bureau. However, the Masterremains responsible for the safe navigation and choice of route. Alternatively,Charterers have the option to instruct the Master to report daily to a weatherbureau during the execution of sea voyages. The weather bureau willsubsequently produce a performance analysis report. Evidence of wind and seaincluding current / tide conditions to be taken from Vessel’s logs and fromindependent weather reporting bureau. The independent weather reporting bureauto be appointed by Charterers for their account. This does not preclude Ownersfrom appointing their own independent weather reporting bureau for Owners’account which evidence along with Vessel’s evidence shall also be taken intoconsideration by all parties. In case of Vessels’ speed / consumptiondeficiency, Charterers to arrange for Vessel’s performance / evaluation, sameto be strictly in accordance with English law/practice.
Clause 74 – Vessel Description
SPEED/CONSUMPTION ARE ABOUT, UNDER GOOD WEATHER CONDITION’ I.E. THEWINDS NOT EXCEEDING BEAUFORT 4, NO DECK CARGO, NO SWELL, NO ADVERSE CURRENTS,THE SEA STATE UP TO DOUGLAS SEA SCALE 3 (MAXIMUM 1.25M).
THE WORD ABOUT IN SPEED/CONSUMPTION REFERS TO AN ALLOWANCE OF +/-0.5 KNOTS ON SPEED AND +/- 5% ON BUNKER CONSUMPTION RESPECTIVELY BOTH ALWAYS INVESSEL’S FAVOUR. ANY GAIN ON TIME AND/OR CONSUMPTION TO BE SET OFF AGAINST LOSSOF TIME AND/OR CONSUMPTION – IF ANY.
- ABOUT 12.00 KNOTS ON ABOUT 22.0 MTS IFO B- PLUS 0.1MT OF MGO ABOUT12.00 KNOTS ON ABOUT 25.0 MTS IFO L- PLUS 0.1MT OF MGO.
- ABOUT 12.50 KNOTS ON ABOUT 24.0 MTS IFO B- PLUS 0.1 MT OF MGOABOUT 12.50 KNOTS ON ABOUT 27.0 MTS IFO L- PLUS 0.1MT OF MGO.
- ABOUT 13.50 KNOTS ON ABOUT 28.0 MTS IFO B- PLUS 01MT OF MGO ABOUT13.50 KNOTS ON ABOUT 31.00 MTS IFO L-PLUS 0.1MT OF MGO.
IN PORT: 5 MTS FOIL – 0.1 MTS MGO PD.”
    
    2.    双方争议
租船人根据租船合同第67条聘请了第三方气导公司,根据相关气导报告租船人提出航速索赔并在租金中做出了扣减。船东认为根据租船合同第46条,租船人无权扣减租金,并且船舶也没有航速损失。船东认为租船人给气导公司指令可能错误,气导公司也有可能忽略了租船合同条款而用错了计算方法。因此船东提起仲裁向租船人索赔其扣减的7257.16美元租金。
 
租船人认为租船合同第46条是有关最后一期租金中燃油抵扣的规定,并没有明确规定禁止租船人对航速索赔做出衡平抵消,并且至少该条款没有排除租船人提出独立的违约损害索赔。同时租船人认为其聘请的气导公司属业内知名的专业机构,提供的报告都是准确的专业评估。
    
    3.    仲裁庭观点
仲裁庭认定,租船人认为租船合同第46条仅仅是有关最后一期租金中燃油抵扣的规定完全改变了租船合同条款的含义。该条的标题是“扣减(Deduction)”,第一句规定“租船人仅有权从最后一期足额租金中扣除还船燃油金额”。因此该条实际的含义就是明确禁止除该条规定情形之外任何的租金扣减行为。该条款的目的即确保租船人相关违约损失的索赔是独立提出的,也同时保护船东避免受到租船人以衡平抵消为由在最后一期租金支付中做出的不合理扣减。除了一些在船东要求下租船人代替船东支付的费用,以及还船燃油价格之外,该条款不允许做出任何扣减。因此租船人违反了租船合同第46条的规定,租金扣减不合法。
 
 
关于租船人提出的航速索赔,仲裁庭认为要确定是否存在航速油耗损失,首先要明确船东实际做出了怎样的保证,包括航速油耗的标准和评估航速油耗的天气标准。租船合同第74条规定了满载时船舶最低速度13.5节以及相应日油耗31吨,同时根据第74条允许的“about”,船东的保证应为好天气下船舶的最低平均速度为13节,相应的日油耗为32.55吨。
 
租船合同第74条对好天气做了定义,其中包括“no swell”的描述,考虑到海上的涌浪在任何时候都不可避免,仲裁庭同意租船人的观点,认为“no swell”指的是“no adverse swell”。所以根据该条款的表述,仲裁庭认为该条款的意图是仅将不利涌浪期间排除在好天气之外。仲裁庭还将租船合同定义的“好天气”标准明确为5方面,包括:
(a)不超过蒲氏风级4级;
(b)无甲板货;
(c)无(不利)涌浪;
(d)无不利洋流;
(e)道格拉斯海况3级及以下(最高1.25米)。
 
仲裁庭认为租船合同第74条没有提及“有利洋流”,并且该条无须提及“有利洋流”也