Rhine Shipping DMCC (claimant/appellant) v VITOL SA (defendant/respondent)

Thursday 18 April 2024

The dispute arises out of a voyage charter (“the charter”) of the crude tanker Dijilah (“the Vessel”) between the Claimant (“Rhine”), as disponent owner, and the Defendant (“Vitol”) as voyage charterer. Rhine’s claim is for unpaid demurrage, which by the time of the trial had been agreed and therefore was not the subject of any dispute, save by way of set-off of the counterclaim. The trial was therefore only concerned with Vitol’s counterclaim, which is a claim for breach of the charter by way of delay to the Vessel in proceeding to one of the load ports (for which it is said Rhine was responsible under the terms of the charter). The counterclaim is for the sum of US$3,692,106.72 (plus interest).

The delay to the Vessel was the result of the arrest in Ghana, at the suit of third parties, of various items of property on board the Vessel. The arrest of the property resulted in the Vessel being detained for some days until security was posted. There is a dispute between the parties as to whether, under the terms of the charter, Rhine is liable for the consequences of the detention and the delay that followed.

The resultant delay in the loading of the Vessel at its next port, Djeno, in Congo, is said by Vitol to have caused it to pay an increased price to the seller of the cargo there loaded. It is that increase in the price that forms the central element of Vitol’s claim against Rhine. In addition to issues on liability and causation, there were issues at trial as to the effect of certain of Vitol’s hedging arrangements on the recoverability of loss and as to remoteness of loss.

View hearing:

Part 1

Part 2