Welcome to our marine newsletter for March 2019. This edition brings you an update on recent decisions and legal developments affecting the maritime industry around the world.
Since June 2017, the UAE (together with KSA , Bahrain and Egypt) has instituted restrictions on transport to and from Qatar, including on vessels calling at Qatar. However, on 12 February 2019, Abu Dhabi Ports issued an updated CHM Direction in relation to the implementation of restrictions against Qatar. Read more.
On 23 January 2019, Juan Guaido, President of the National Assembly, was sworn in and took over the powers of the Executive as Interim President of Venezuela. Following Nicolas Maduro’s alleged "sham"
re-election as President in 2018 – which the National Assembly, several countries of the International Community and many Venezuelan nationals did not recognize for its failure to abide by the rule of law – Juan Guaido invoked a constitutional provision that made him acting head of state. There are no precedents for how the current political situation may affect shipping in the region. Read more.
The Court of Appeal in Stallion Eight Shipping Co. S.A. v Natwest Markets plc (formerly known as The Royal Bank of Scotland plc) (The "MV Alkyon") (2018) upheld the first instance decision that an in rem claimant is not required to provide a cross-undertaking in damages for the loss resulting from the arrest of a vessel, unlike a claimant seeking a freezing injunction. Damages for a wrongful arrest may be available to a shipowner only where the arresting party acted in bad faith or with gross negligence that implies malice. Read more.
The Singapore High Court held in the "Long Bright"  SGHC 216 that where the court has ordered the sale of an arrested vessel, the arresting party is not entitled to release and stop the judicial sale of the vessel, as a matter of right. It must apply to the court for discharge of the sale order before releasing the vessel. Read more.
In a case which has potential ramifications for how parties formulate damages claims for breach of charterparty, A v B  EWHC 2325, the High Court has upheld the decision of a Tribunal which concluded that charterers were entitled to recover lost profits calculated on the assumption they lost two lucrative potential fixtures, notwithstanding that the market at the time was "extremely soft" with similar vessels unfixed. Read more.
In the recent case of HSBC Bank Plc v Antaeus Shipping Co S.A. and others (2018), the High Court was asked to determine whether corporate and personal guarantees given in favour of the claimant could still be validly enforced despite the claimant's alleged breaches of the Greek Civil Code. Read more.
Last year, we reported the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision of Seahorse Maritime Limited v Nautilus International (a trade union) (2017), which extended collective consultation rights to overseas employees who had a sufficiently strong connection to Great Britain. The decision was of considerable interest to the offshore shipping industry because it placed increased obligations on employers to consult collectively with crew operating in foreign territorial waters when seeking to make them redundant or change terms of employment. Now, the Court of Appeal has overturned the EAT’s decision. Read more.
When a party considers whether or not to bring a claim, it will need to determine whether or not the claim is subject to a time bar. If a defendant asserts that the limitation period has expired in respect of a claim, then the burden will fall on the claimant to prove that the time allowed for the claim has not expired. Here, the High Court examined whether a claim for unjust enrichment was time barred. Read more.
Introduced by the Criminal Finances Act 2017, Unexplained Wealth Orders came into force on 31 January 2018, and offer the potential to be a powerful tool for investigating and enforcing legal sanctions against holders of suspect wealth. Read more.
The London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) published two new clauses at the end of November 2018. The first is a revised standard arbitration clause for incorporation into contracts, which is now to be known simply as the "LMAA Arbitration Clause". The second is a new "LMAA Arbitration Notice Clause" which is to be used in conjunction with the main arbitration clause. Read more.
GAFTA have approved the amendment of a number of its standard form contracts, the most significant of which are the removal of the contractual limitation period, or "time bar", in respect of claims for "amounts payable" from GAFTA Arbitration Rules No. 125 ("GAFTA 125"), and the elimination of the express obligation, in GAFTA No 49, for FOB sellers, to have cargo ready at any time during the agreed period of delivery. Read more.