One of our platform members had chartered out his vessel on voyage basis to a Turkish operator. The operator had booked various breakbulk parcels with his clients. The voyage was fixed through two brokers and as is customary in the trade, a recap of terms was confirmed and reconfirmed by email.
Cargoes were quite valuable, comprised of – among other things – electrical and mechanical components, to be lashed and secured by crew as well as shore resources, and be loaded and discharged at numerous ports, with constant requests by Charterers for the owner to accept a changed rotation. All cargoes were loaded to Charterers’ full satisfaction and the vessel performed we and beyond the scope of the contract, in Owners’ usual supportive manner.
Already at completion of loading was it clear that laytime agreed for loading and discharging was insufficient and Charterers would have to pay demurrage. A last minute change to rotation of discharge ports demanded by Charterers added significant extra time and bunker consumption to the voyage, wherefore Owners asked for Charterers’ assurances that all extra costs and charges would be settled. Charterers reassured Owners of this.
Eventually, in a combination of terms of contract and as a show of good will from Owners, all cargoes were discharged and Owners were promised that the outstanding balance of nearly USD 200,000 would be settled. But despite countless reminders and notices to Charterers, who in turn repeated their promises, no payment was made and Owners saw no alternative but to hand over the matter to their Defence Club.
Perhaps to no surprise, Owners’ Defence club already handled a similar case for another owner with the same charterers.
Final outcome was: With a Turkish Charterer and a contract not-in-Turkish and not signed in original, but only by exchange of email confirmations, the chances of successfully enforcing an arbitration award were deemed next to zero by clubs and lawyers alike.
Charterers ceased operations and declared – though never officially – theirselves as bankrupt and without means or assets. Despite all they are still actively operating in Turkey, though under a similarly sounding company name.
The Consequences: Owners made an appropriate and suitable rating of Charterers “Operational Performance” on the Martime Trust Platform (MTP). This automatically triggered an invitation to Charterers to counter-rate the Owners’ performance on the MTP. Charterers received a login and password, but regrettably so far without response.
The Owners subsequently filed a “Claim” within the MTP claim resolution platform, with a resulting additional invitation to Charterers to address the claim and allegation within the platform. As Charterers have not responded, their TRUST RATING is now 2.
If you now try Googling the Charterers’ name together with the keyword TRUST, then the result is ranked even before the actual company’s website and the the display on the MTP is like this (click on link).