再议船舶错过解约日的损害赔偿问题
日期:2018-12-06 阅读:899
  【摘要】在航运实务中,出租人为了在市场上能获得更好的价钱,可能会虚报船舶的航速油耗;甚至为了能够执行某个比较合适的货载,有意虚报船舶的动态;而在执行的过程中,为了便利,也可能绕航中途港口添加备件或燃油等,如果在这些情况下,出租人对于船舶的动态所作的陈述并非真诚或者没有合理的基础,承租人是否能够主张损害赔偿?本文通过实务中关于交船的争议来谈谈“Monroe义务”及损害赔偿问题。

  【关键词】ETA、陈述、Laycan、Monroe义务

  当年还在跑船的时候,经常把船上发的啤酒买下,然后下班之后和值班水手或者机工在房间就着鱼干喝点小酒,和这些普通船员结下了深厚的友谊,有些至今还在联系。跑船需要非常大的勇气,还需要能忍受孤独;很多人缺乏独处的勇气,因此饭后选择和大伙打牌。笔者那时候,事情处理完之后通常在房间,要么学习要么和人喝酒。看起来似乎是一个不合群的人,孤僻且不善言辞。

  十几年过去,回头来看,如果没有当时的孤寂,一定不会有今天,能坐在电脑前写自己想写的东西,见一些想见的人,能够和老友喝一下午的酒。一壶浊酒喜相逢。古今多少事,都付笑谈中。不惑之人,慢慢学会看淡很多身外之物。然而,万丈红尘三杯酒,千秋大业一壶茶。酒喝多了终究误事,酒醒之后生活还是得继续。

  回到本文中来,商场如战场,因此在航运实践中也必然会碰到各种各样的事情。天下熙熙,皆为利来;天下壤壤,皆为利往。出租人为了在市场上能获得更好的价钱,可能会虚报船舶的航速油耗;甚至为了能够执行某个比较合适的货载,有意虚报船舶的动态,以匹配该载货物的受载期;而在执行的过程中,出租人也可能为了便利,绕航中途港口添加备件或燃油等,如果在这些情况下,出租人对于船舶的动态所作的陈述并非真诚或者没有合理的基础,承租人是否能够主张损害赔偿?本文通过实务中关于交船的争议来谈谈“Monroe”义务及损害赔偿问题。

  承租人揽取了一票货,受载期为22-31/JULY 2017,承租人于是基于该受载期在市场上寻找船舶执行该货载。承租人最终在市场上找到了一巴拿马船N轮,于是与出租人就N轮签订了一份交船基于AFSPS(Arrival First Sea Pilot Station),及抵达第一个海上引航站交船;受载期为0001LT 27/JULY/2017 - 2359LT 31/JULY/2017的航次期租合同。

  N轮并没有在解约日期内抵达装货港,8月1日才抵港;承租人未行使解约权,继续使用N轮。但是承租人在程租合同下,面临了下家索赔,由于船舶错过解约日期而导致的“carrying charge”约18万美金。“Carrying charge”的确切含义应该是包含所有的存储费,利息,保险费和其他正常运输费用。因船舶未能在约定的受载期内抵达装港装货,因延迟装货所产生的这些费用将由买方或出租人来承担,这些费用也可简称为“迟装费”。

  承租人赔偿了程租合同下的下家,于是想转嫁该赔偿到出租人身上。在支付第一期租金的时候,承租人把下家的索赔金额从租金中扣下。出租人不同意,要求承租人立即退还此金额,否则将采取法律行动。承租人咨询协会律师,但协会的律师认为,期租合同下,船舶错过解约日,承租人只有解除合同的权利,并没有权利索赔这种损害赔偿。因此必须退还出租人该笔金额,避免违约。但事实情况是否真的如承租人协会律师所言呢?结合合同的上下文条款,笔者认为并非如此。如果凡事都认为对方有理,那么律师就失去了存在的意义。作为一专业律师,要站在当事人的角度,应该旁征博引尽力去说服对方,而不是说服当事人。

  合同的相关条款如下:

  MV N

  FLAG BAHAMAS / BUILT 2001

  DEADWEIGHT/DRAFT

  75,311 MT AT 14.167 METERS SUMMER DRAFT

  TPC AT FULL DRAFT 68 METRIC TONS

  HOLDS/HATCHES 7 / 7

  TOTAL CAP 90,124.40 CUM/3,182,716 CFT

  L.O.A. 224.97 METERS

  BEAM 32.25 METERS

  SPEEDS/CON :

  B - ABT 14.00 KNOTS ON ABT 27.50 MT HSFO 380 CSTS L - ABT 14.00 KNOTS ON ABT 30.50 MT HSFO 380 CSTS

  ECONOMIC SPEEDS/CONSUMPTIONS:

  B - ABT 12.50 KNOTS ON ABT 21.50 MT HSFO 380 CST L - ABT 11.50 KNOTS ON ABT 22.50 MT HSFO 380 CST

  - ABOVE VSL ECONOMIC SPEED CONSUMPTION GUARANTEED BASIS. - OK

  - OWS TO CONFIRM:

  -VESSEL IS AND WILL BE IN A SEAWORTHY CONDITION AT ALL/ANY TIME THROUGHOUT THE DURATION OF THIS CHARTER PARTY.

  -VESSEL TO BE FULLY COMPLIANT WITH ALL ITF REQUIREMENTS WITH REGARD TO EMPLOYMENT OF CREW AND OWNERS TO HAVE ALL RELEVANT AND NECESSARY DOCUMENTATION CONFIRMING SAME.

  -VESSEL TO BE CLASSED LLOYDS 100+ A1 OR EQUIVALENT AND FULLY COVERED BY P&I CLUB , WHICH IS TO BE A MEMBER OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF P&I CLUBS.-OWNERS CONFIRM VESSEL WILL NOT CHANGE NAME/FLAG/CLASS/OWNERSHIP OR P&I CLUB WHILE PERFORMING THIS VOYAGE.

  -THE LAST PSC INSPECTIONS (OVER THE PAST YEARS) ARE NOT SHOWING DEFICIENCIES WHICH MAY HAVE ANY IMPACT ON THE CARGO / SEAWORTHINESS OF THE VESSEL.

  PLEASE ADIVSE:

  -VSLS FULL / DETAILED ITINERARY: VSL SAILING WITH 14KTS ETA COGH 18TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP ETA PARA 28TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP

  - FOR ONE TCT VIA SP(S) SB(S) SA(S) AA AWIWL VIA ECSA WITH GRAINS/GRAIN PRODUCTS TO FAR EAST. NYPE NAABSA CLS TO APPLY. DURATION ABT 65 DAYS WOG .

  - DELIVERY: AFSPS TUBARAO-NECOCHEA RANGE ATDNSHINC(INTEN S.BRAZIL).

  FINAL LP TB DECLARED BEFORE PASSING CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, INTEN S.BRAZIL

  - LAYCAN: 0001LT 27/JULY/2017 - 2359LT 31/JULY/2017

  - REDEL: DLOSP 1SP SINGAPORE/JAPAN RGE PICO ATDNSHINC

  - NOTICE : OWNERS TO TENDER APPRO 15/10/7, EXACT 5/3/2/1 DAY(S) DELIVERY NOTICE. CHRS TO GIVE APPROX 15/10/7, EXACT 5/3/2/1 DAYS REDELY NOTICE

  与承租人协会律师的意见相反,笔者认为N轮的出租人得承担损害赔偿责任;理由如下文,将分开详细说明。

  一、关于解约条款的解释

  承租人协会律师认为,合同解约权仅仅赋予承租人解除合约的权利,并没有赋予承租人解除合约后索赔的权利。笔者认为承租人协会律师忽略了该条款下强加到出租人身上默示的责任义务。

  首先再来回顾一下关于解约条款的基本内容。解约条款除了赋予解除合同的选择权之外,这个条款也有另外一个作用,那就是强加到出租人身上,一个默示的责任:出租人必须尽合理勤勉之义务在特定的日期去交付船给承租人。可以参最新的第七版《Time Charters》Chapter 7-Delivery,7.6如下:

  7.6 However, the clause also has another effect: it imposes on the owners an implied obligation to exercise reasonable diligence to deliver the ship by the relevant date.

  同时,该解约条款,也默示了一责任到出租人身上,那就是如果出租人未尽

  合理勤勉去交付船舶的话,出租人得为损害赔偿负责。可以参《Time Charters》Chapter 24-Cancelling Clauses,如下:

  24.3 However, a cancelling clause does give rise to an implied obligation on the owners for breach of which they may be liable in damages to exercise due diligence to tender the ship for delivery by the cancelling date.

  二、出租人是否尽了合理勤勉之义务

   在租约签订之后,出租人必须尽合理勤勉去交付船舶,否则出租人将承担损害赔偿责任。 比如在The “Marta Z” 案中,出租人因为在抵达装港之前,挂靠了其它港口进行机器维修和装载其它货物而被判违约,未尽合理速遣之义务。该案的简要情况可以参最新第七版《Time Charters》Chapter 24-Cancelling Clauses,24A.7 如下:

  24A.7 In The Marta Z, SMA 2602 (Arb. at N.Y. 1989), the owner was held to have breached the charter by scheduling calls to other ports in order to make engine repairs and load another charterer’s cargo before calling on the loading port. The owner was also held in breach of its duty to exercise due diligence to make the ship’s engines seaworthy, promptly make necessary repairs to the engine, and prosecute the voyage, which was delayed 57 days and ordinarily would have taken 12 days to complete. Although the charter called for prepaid freight to be irrevocable under all circumstances, the panel held that the owner could not retain the prepaid freight since it was at fault. In addition, because the owner could not have had reasonable grounds to believe that the ship would have been delivered to the charterer by the dates established in the charter, the charterer was also awarded extension penalties which it paid to its customers because of the delay.

  参N轮的AIS记录截图如下,很显然途中,出租人安排N轮挂靠了南非的伊丽莎白港。
  


  因此N轮的出租人在这点上违反了其尽力速遣的默示责任义务,中途挂靠了无关的港口;出租人违约,承租人因此可以找出租人索赔损失。

  三、船舶动态陈述中WOG的法律地位

  在之前文章反复强调过,合约的解释必须将前后文条款当作一个整体来看待,不能孤立地看某个条款。首先,出租人保证的第一部分内容如下:

  - OWS TO CONFIRM:

  -VESSEL IS AND WILL BE IN A SEAWORTHY CONDITION AT ALL/ANY TIME THROUGHOUT THE DURATION OF THIS CHARTER PARTY.

  这里的“throughtout the duration”措辞构成了出租人的持续性保证。如果出租人声称中途挂靠南非的伊丽莎白港是为了取备件或者临时修理,那么将直接违反该条在整个租约期的所有时间及任何时间内都适航的持续性保证。当然出租人也可以辩解中途挂靠是在交船前,因此并不违反该持续性保证,这在后文连同“Monroe义务”继续说明。

  接下来的“Please advise”,是承租人要求出租人告之船舶动态;出租人对此作出的全部及详细的动态如下,陈述为:

  PLEASE ADIVSE:

  -VSLS FULL / DETAILED ITINERARY: VSL SAILING WITH 14KTS ETA COGH 18TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP ETA PARA 28TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP.

  即船舶以14节的速度航行,如果一切顺利,不保证,天气许可的情况下预计7月18日抵达好望角,如果一切顺利,不保证,天气许可的情况下预计7月28日抵达装港Paranagua。

  在该陈述中加了“WOG”,without guarantee,不保证,承租人协会律师及出租人均认为无需承担任何ETA不准所带来的责任问题。关于该措辞的法律意义,在之前文章已经做详细说,不在此重复。简单说明一下,如果一方想借助WOG来免除责任的话,那么其所作出的估计或者陈述必须至少是真诚的。

  如在未公开报告的,Benship International Inc. v. Deemand Shipping Co. S.A案,在该案中,涉及的是一航次期租合同,期租合同规定:

  . . .One time charter trip. . .about 40/120 days duration without guarantee.

  在装港的时候,由于装货困难,在装了一部分货后,承租人最终选择了把船上的货物卸下,然后直接还船给出租人。出租人认为,按合同,承租人有责任义务使航次保持至少约40/120天,并且“不保证”一词将合同条款中的条件改为保证,只允许索赔损失。但法官Leggatt认为,该条款甚至不是保证条款,仅仅是:一项表示承租人有义务真诚地做出他们对航次期限的估计。

  此外,没有迹象表明任何争论都向法官提出,“不保证”一词将义务的绝对性降低为不是疏忽地计算航次期限的义务。尽管如此,博学的法官明确表示,无论义务是什么,它只不过是作出估计需真诚。

  Mr. Justice Leggatt held that the clause was not even a warranty and only -

  . . .a representation placing the charterer under an obligation to make in good faith their estimate of the duration of the trip.

  Again there is no sign that any argument was addressed to the Judge that the words "without guarantee" reduced the absolute nature of the obligation to an obligation not negligently to calculate the duration of the trip. Nevertheless there is a clear statement from that learned Judge that, whatever the obligation is, it is no more than to make an estimate in good faith.

  在本案中,法官Leggatt特别强调了,所做的估计需是真诚的。承租人在WOG下,想免责的前提是,所做的估计需是真诚善意的。在The “Lendoudis Eveangelos II” [1997] 1Lloyd’s Rep. 404案中,Longmore法官(当时是)认为没有任何理由作出与Leggatt法官相反的判决,认为所做的估计必须是真诚善意的。

   而关于这个真诚的评判标准,Longmore法官认为,如果他要自己制定一个真诚的标准,那么他要说的是,所有这些要求是,承租人在确定航次时真的相信这次航次将持续70到80天。

  The arbitrator purported to follow the decision of Mr. Justice Leggatt in par. 13 of his award but then, as I have already said, concluded that the test of good faith was whether the charterers' original estimate was reasonably made. That is not the test of good faith at all. If I were to formulate a test of good faith myself, I would say that all it requires is that the charterers genuinely believed at the time of fixing that the trip would last between 70 and 80 days.

  那么就来到N轮的出租人所作出的关于船舶动态的陈述是否是真诚及有合理的基础。在说明这个问题之前,再来说说关于受载期的问题。

  四、受载期(Laycan)的另一种法律意义

  Laycan为英文“layday and cancelling date”的缩写,意思就是以一段日期作为受载期,过此期限,承租人有权决定是否解除合同。例如N轮中规定的Laycan为:LAYCAN: 0001LT 27/JULY/2017 - 2359LT 31/JULY/2017,那么即意味着承租人没有义务在7月27日之前接船,如果船舶在过了7月31日仍未抵达交船的话,承租人便有权解除合同。通常情况下,承租人只有权对于船舶错过解约日行使解除合同的权利,并无对出租人索赔其损失的权利,除非是出租人存在违约行为。比如:(1)不合理绕航;(2)准许上一租家多走一个不合法的航次;(3)不必要的修理;(4)在租约中不予免责的过失。

  在该受载期条款中,明确约定了解约日期为2017年7月31日的2359LT。如果一个条款规定解约日期,其包含出租人预期在该日期之前准备就绪可以装载的声明,这反过来又产生了一种默示的保证,即该预期是诚实的,并且基于合理的基础。可以参最新的第七版《Time Charters》Chapter 7-Delivery,7.7如下

  7.7 In addition, it is thought a clause specifying a cancelling date contains an implicit statement by the owners that the ship is expected to be ready to load by that date, which in turn gives rise to an implied warranty that that expectation is honest and based on reasonable grounds.

  需特别注意的,这里的“honest”与“reasonable grounds”之间是用 “and”连接,而非“or”,表示该预期必须是诚实的,且有合理的基础。诚实和合理的基础二者必须同时满足,缺一不可。

  同时,违约无关程度大小,一旦违约,无辜的另一方即有权索赔损失。因此如果出租人违反了他们的责任义务,承租人选择取消租约的同时并未剥夺承租人找出租人索赔的权利。可以参第七版《Time Charters》Chapter 24-Cancelling Clauses 24.18,如下:

  24.18 The exercise by the charterers of their right to cancel does not deprive them of the right to claim damages if the owners have breached any of their obligations under the charter. In a Scottish voyage charter case, Nelson & Sons v. Dundee East Coast Shipping, 1907 S.C. 927, the owners had failed to provide their ship with all convenient speed, as they were required to do under the charter. It was held that the charterers were entitled to damages even though they had exercised the right to cancel. Lord M’Laren said, at page 934: “… it was submitted by the [owners] that no damages were due, [because] the insertion of the clause giving an option to cancel came in place of the common law obligation to provide a ship or pay compensation. I do not think the clause was inserted for any such purpose.”

  五、出租人的预期是否是真诚的及有合理的基础

  首先,如上文Longmore法官所说,如果他要自己制定一个真诚标准,那么他要说的是,所有这些要求是,承租人在确定航次时真的相信这次航次将持续70到80天。因此,如果要给予N轮出租人一个真诚的评判标准,那么就是,N轮的出租人在签订合同的时候是否真的相信N轮能以14节的速度航行,如果一切顺利,天气许可的情况下预计在7月18日能抵达好望角;如果一切顺利,天气许可的情况下预计能7月28日抵达装港Paranagua交付船舶。

  -VSLS FULL / DETAILED ITINERARY: VSL SAILING WITH 14KTS ETA COGH 18TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP ETA PARA 28TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP.

  出租人很显然清楚N轮的实际状况,2001年造的船;至签订合同的时候已经有着16年的船龄,不再年轻。7月份对于南半球而言,天气海况都不容乐观,尤其是要横跨印度洋和大西洋,途中过好望角。出租人还以全速满负荷的合同速度14节来计算船舶预计抵达装港交船的时间,这不符逻辑很不正常,出租人全然不考虑航行途中可能遭遇的恶劣天气的影响,仍然以14节的速度来计算,从而给出预计7月28日就抵达装港的错误陈述。

  参N轮在交船之前的AIS轨迹图,在5月10日显示N轮空载的速度为12节左右,在该区域顺流,基本上可以说是风平浪静,船舶并未达到合同规范的速度。
  


  5月16日,N轮在印度海中位于赤道南边附近,这个位置也是顺流,N轮的速度也仅12节左右。
  


  出租人也许会声称N轮在使用经济航速,所以空载的速度在12节左右,已经符合合同要求。但众所周知,如果船舶一直在使用经济航速的话,船舶主机长期低负荷运行,尤其是长期在额定功率50%以下运行时,将会造成柴油机的气缸润滑不良,滑油消耗率增加,使燃烧部件,排气系统和增压系统造成严重损坏,直接导致主机扫气压力下降,排烟温度升高,扫气箱着火着火,运转性能下降,甚至不能恢复其正常负荷下运行。鉴于目前的市场环境,如果出租人坚持声称使用经济航速运行,也似乎可信。当然如果通过航海日志,轮机日志就可以清楚知道是否在使用经济航速。

  如果N轮真的一直在使用经济航速运行,那么N轮的主机很可能无法恢复到额定功率,也就是说在全速情况下将无法再跑出14节的速度。但是在签订该合同的时候,出租人仍然以14节的速度来计算船舶的速度,虽不能直接认定出租人存在恶意,但很显然出租人所作出的关于船舶动态的陈述并没有合理的基础,未充分考虑到船舶的实际状况,高估了船舶实际所能达到的速度。

  再看交船后N轮的速度截图,抵达马达加斯加岛之前12节多;过好望角期间8-9节左右。
  


  从这些船位轨迹截图可以很清楚地看出,N轮在过好望角期间整个速度不佳,仅9节左右;而在大西洋中,速度也未到12节。
  


  从以上截图可以可以看出,N轮在交船之后到7月30日期间,速度非常一般;仅仅在7月31日前后表面达到了合同规定的速度。这里有两种可能,第一种情况是N轮在海上确实遭遇了坏天气,导致船舶速度表现不佳。如果是这样,那么从侧面直接反证出租人关于N轮所给出的ETA没有合理的基础。第二种情况是,如果N轮理论上能够跑合同的速度,但出租人为了节省燃油而选择跑经济航速,在航行中存在疏忽,结果导致无法在受载期内抵达装货港交船;虽然在最后时候选择加速,仍然无法在解约日期内抵达。如果是这种情况,那么出租人将直接违反尽力速遣之义务。
  


  基于以上所给出的理由可以看出,N轮在当时的环境情况下,无法跑到合同所描述的14节;出租人还是以14节的速度来计算船舶预计抵港时间并没有合理的基础。同时从常识考虑,横跨印度洋大西洋,途径好望角,船舶的速度必然会受到影响,N轮的出租人并非真的相信N轮在中情况下仍能跑出14节的速度,N轮无法7月18日就抵达好望角,也无法在7月28日抵达Paranagua港交付船舶。作为一专业人士,不可能缺少该常识,因此N轮的出租人并不符合Longmore法官所说的真诚的评判标准,出租人关于船舶动态的陈述缺乏真诚。

  六、ETA的法律效力

  在航运实务中,都有时间方面的规定。许多案例出现了关于履约时间的合约规定是否应该被解释为把时间作为合约的核心要素(即作为条件)或作为中间条款的问题。时间限制是否属于合约条款的核心要素,是整个合约范围内对条款的解释问题。问题在于,特定条款中规定的时间是否(明示或必要暗示)是当事方意图必不可少的,例如,因为他们需要准确地知道他们各自的义务。根据普通法,关于履约时间的规定通常被认为是合约核心要素。

  这方面的可以参之前文章《时间是否是核心要素》一文。比如The “Mihalis Angelos”案,出租人在合同中,声明该轮“Expected ready to load under this charter about 1st July, 1965”。但是仲裁员发现,事实上显然不可能,在5月25日的时候,该轮还在位于太平洋中,正在前往香港的途中,预期6月25-26左右才能抵达香港,卸货需约两星期;之后需约2天时间做特别检验,然后从香港开到Haiphong约需2天,这样预计抵达Haiphong大约在7月15日左右。该轮最终于6月23日抵达香港,但是在香港卸货遭遇未预期的延误,一直卸到7月23日才卸完。

  仲裁员最终认定出租人呢在5月25日,并未合理的估计船舶能在7月1日左右抵达Haiphong港,出租人违约。仲裁庭庭长裁定认为此条款为条件条款,出租人违反了,承租人有权取消合同。对于该条款的裁定,出租人不服裁决,上诉。上诉院的Megaw勋爵通过该条款的详细解释分析,给出了4个理由,最终支持仲裁庭的裁决,判该条款为条件条款,在这点作出对承租人有利的判决。

  在Bunge Corporation v Tradax Export SA [1981] 2 Lloyd's Rep.1 (H.L.)贵族院判例中,针对如下措辞,贵族院判在FOB合同下,给予相应的ETA通知是合同的条件。

  Other Conditions . . . Buyers to give 15 days preadvice of readiness of steamer.

  N轮的情况也类似,之前文章已经就该条款是否是条件条款给予了说明,不在此文中重述。关于船舶预计抵达或准备就绪的问题,这之间的区别并不大。如在The “Myrtos” [1984] 2 Lloyds Rep 449案中,Leggatt法官在第451页判决书中所说,租船合同中的预计抵达时间,预计准备装货和预计准备装货时间的概念之间并没有多大区别。

  It appears to me that those may be correct, practical, reflections upon the distinction to be drawn between the concept of arrival and the concept of readiness to load in relation to a vessel, but the mere existence of the distinction does not, of itself, point to any difference in principle in the treatment of what, in my judgment, are analogous phrases, that is to say, "estimated time of arrival" and "expected ready to load", or "expected date of readiness to load", when found in charter-parties.

  在一些租船合同中,出租人声明船舶在某个日期或特定日期“预计准备就绪装货”,或者具有特定的到达交付港口的预计到达时间。在这种情况下,出租人暗示承诺他们的期望或估计是出于真诚,并且船舶的位置使得她可以合理地预期在该日期准备就绪可装货。比如在 The Mihalis Angelos [1970] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 43 (C.A.)案中,Denning勋爵在第47页判决书中所说。这些隐含承诺通常被视为合同的条件,因此,如果出租人的预期不是真诚的陈述或未基于合理的基础,则承租人可以将合同视为已解除。当然,这种规定在程租合同中比在期租合同中更为常见,但其效果在两种租约中可能相同。可以参第七版《Time Charters》Chapter 3-The Ship, 3.58如下:

  “Expected ready to load”

  3.58 In some charters, the owners state that the ship is “expected ready to load” on or about a certain date or that it has a particular estimated time of arrival at the delivery port. In such cases, the owners impliedly promise that their expectation or estimation is stated in good faith and that the ship is in a position such that she can reasonably be expected to be ready to load on that date: The Mihalis Angelos [1970] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 43 (C.A.), per Lord Denning, M.R., at page 47. These implied undertakings are usually regarded as conditions of the contract – so that, if the owners’ expectation is not stated honestly or is not based on reasonable grounds, the charterers may treat the contract as discharged. This sort of provision is, of course, more common in voyage than in time charters, but its effect is likely to be the same in both.

  需要指出的是,这里出租人的预期,关于honestly和reasonable ground之间是用“or”来连接,即只要出租人的预期不是真诚的,或者没有合理的基础,出租人违反其中一个,承租人即可解除合同。如前文所说的,所作出的陈述必须是真诚的及有合理的基础不同:陈述必须两者都符合,否则构成违约;而违约相反,只要违反两者其中之一就构成违约,无辜的另一方即有权索赔损失。

  如果租船合同中给出了预期准备就绪时间或预计抵达时间,出租人可能还有进一步的责任义务。如果预期准备就绪装货的时间已经达成一致,则认为出租人将至少承诺在租船合同签订之日起将尽合理勤勉,以确保船舶交付,准备就绪为租约服务。基于同样的理由,出租人必须采取合理勤勉以确保船舶在解约日期交付船舶。如果出租人未采取合理勤勉来满足规定的准备就绪日期,如果有损失,出租人将承担赔偿责任。这方面的可以参《Time Charters》Chapter 3-The Ship, 3.59如下:

  3.59 The owners may also have further obligations arising from an expected date of readiness or ETA. Where an “expected ready to load” date has been agreed, it is thought that the owners will, as a minimum, undertake to use reasonable diligence from the date of the conclusion of the charter to ensure that the ship is delivered, ready for the charter service, by the stated readiness date. That obligation would arise for the same reasons that owners must use reasonable diligence to ensure that the ship is delivered by the cancelling date: see paragraph 7.6, below. If they fail to use reasonable diligence to meet the stated readiness date, the owners are liable in damages if loss results.

  N轮的租船合同中已经明确规定了ETA时间,但出租人在中途选择挂靠南非的伊丽莎白港,在天气情况许可的情况下未采取加速等措辞以确保船舶能在7月31日2359LT解约日期前抵达装货港交付船舶,因此出租人违反了合理勤勉之义务,承租人有权索赔损失。

  然而,出租人的责任(如果违反这些义务,他们可能要承担损害赔偿责任)可能会更加繁重。他们可能会暗示承诺,船舶将会朝着将要交付的港口或位置航行,合理确定船舶将在指定的ETA抵达,准备开始租约服务。这种义务(如果暗示的话)的效果是,如果已经同意ETA,船舶先前的交易承诺将干扰出租人基于ETA交付船舶的能力,此风险出租人承担。在一系列关于航次租船的案件中已经承认了这种隐含的义务。尚未判定是否在定期租约中产生这种义务。这些案件中的推理取决于那些要求船舶“with all convenient speed”前往装货港的租船合同中使用的措辞。期租租约中通常没有相应的措辞;然而,可能暗示了类似的条款。可以参《Time Charters》Chapter 3-The Ship, 3.60如下:

  3.60 However the owners’ obligation, for breach of which they can be liable in damages, may be a more onerous one. They may impliedly promise that the ship will set sail for the port (or other place) at which the ship is to be delivered at a time when it is reasonably certain that she will arrive, ready to begin the charter service, by the stated ETA. The effect of such an obligation (were it to be implied) would be that, where an ETA is agreed, the risk that the ship’s previous trading commitments will interfere with the owners’ ability to deliver the ship by the ETA is a risk that the owners assume. An implied obligation of this kind has been recognised in a series of cases about voyage charters: Monroe Brothers v. Ryan (1935) 51 Ll.L.Rep. 179 (C.A.); Louis Dreyfus v. Lauro (1938) 60 Ll.L.Rep. 94; Evera v. North Shipping [1956] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 367; The Baleares [1993] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 215 (C.A.). It has not been decided whether such an obligation arises in a time charter. The reasoning in the cases referred to depends on the wording used in those charters requiring the ship to proceed to the loading port “with all convenient speed”. There is usually no equivalent wording in a time charter. It may be, however, that a similar term is nevertheless to be implied.

  这里所说的也就是下文将介绍的“Monroe 义务”,而一旦在租船合同中作出了类似的规定,那么该义务将是绝对的。

  在Marbienes Compania Naviera S.A. v Ferrostaal A.G. (The “Democritos”) [1976] 2 Lloyd's Rep 149(C.A.)案中,承租人代表律师主张,在众多包含有“estimated time of arrival”的程租合同的判例中,所给出的该预计日期必须真诚的,且基于合理的基础,船舶离开上个航次的卸港之后必须开始其预备航次,该义务被认为是绝对的。Denning勋爵针对承租人的该主张,在第152页判决说到,这些判例中不适用本案,本案的租船合同没有任何承诺船舶可以在某个特定的日期前交付,而仅仅是在没有交付的情况下可以取消合同。反之,如果在租船合同中作出了类似的“estimated time of arrival”的承诺,那么该义务将是绝对的。

  Mr. Pollock referred to several voyage charters in which there was an "estimated time of arrival". It has been always held that the estimated date has to be given honestly and on reasonable grounds and that he has to sail from his last port on his approach voyage so as to get there in time. That obligation is absolute. But those cases have no application to a charter such as this, where there is no promise at all to deliver by a certain date, but only an option to cancel if it is not so delivered.

  反观N轮的租船合同中,出租人已经给予了该承诺,如下,清楚给予了详细的船舶动态,抵达好望角,装货港的ETA。由于出租人所给出该ETA并没有合理的基础,因此违反了该承诺;而途中的延误风险将由出租人自行承担。同时,出租人并未采取合理勤勉(途中绕航伊丽莎白港,或者采取加速等措施)来满足约定的ETA,给承租人造成了损失,出租人因此将承担赔偿责任。

  -VSLS FULL / DETAILED ITINERARY: VSL SAILING WITH 14KTS ETA COGH 18TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP ETA PARA 28TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP

  关于这里WOG的效果,如果出租人想借此来寻求免责的话,那么所作出的估计必须是真诚的。前文已经说过,在签订该租船合同的时候,出租人并不真正相信N轮能跑出14节的速度,对于该预期并不真诚。而关于“IFAGW,WP”等措辞的解释,在CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services SA v Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 2413,The “Pacific Voyager”案中,上诉法院的Longmore勋爵在第16段判决书中认为,增加的措辞“bss iagw/wp”并未强调任何表明该船舶只须遵守先前租船合同的意图。如果它有任何意义,那么就是强调在船舶行程中给出的估计中隐含的内容,即它们是真诚地并且基于合理基础给出的估计。

  The addition of the wording "bss iagw/wp" does not, in my judgment, "underscore" any intention to indicate that the Vessel was subject to a previous charter. If anything it serves to underscore what would anyway be implicit in the estimates given in the itinerary namely that they were estimates given honestly and on reasonable grounds.

  这里依然强调的所给出的必须是真诚地,并且有着合理的基础。

  七、所给出的ETA必须是真诚的并且有着合理的基础

  在Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Byan. (1935) 51 Ll.L.Rep. 179案,上诉法院的Greer勋爵在第181判决书中引援了Samuel Sanday & Co. v. Keighley, Maxted & Co., 27 Com. Cas. 296案,在该案中Sterndale勋爵说到,如果卖方在签订合同时所知,买方所做的声明,“expected ready to load”,那么该预期必须是真诚地并且有着合理的基础。

  I think that the second is the right view, that it is to be interpreted as meaning that in view of the facts, as known to the seller at the time of his making the contract and making the statement "expected ready to load," the expectation was one which was made, as Mr. Justice Bailhache says in one of the cases, honestly and upon reasonable grounds.

  Greer勋爵认为,在该案和其他案件中,这一陈述不仅仅是一种陈述,而是

  合同声明,是当事人之间合同的一部分,意味着他们认为该陈述是在合理的基础上真诚地作出的。

  Now, it is said in that and other cases that this statement is not a mere representation but is a contractual statement, part of the contract between the parties, but it only means that they contract that the statement is honestly made upon reasonable grounds.

  在Evera S.A. Commercial v North Shipping Co Ltd (The “North Anglia”) [1956] 2 Lloyds Rep. 367案中,Devlin法官(当时是)在第370页判决书中也引援了Samuel Sanday & Co. v. Keighley, Maxted & Co., (1922) 27 Com. Cas. 296案。

  As was clearly settled in Samuel Sanday & Co. v. Keighley, Maxted & Co., (1922) 27 Com. Cas. 296, he is entitled to have that statement of position, as it is called-the statement of expectation as to when the ship arrives or is likely to arrive-made honestly and made on reasonable grounds.

  并在第372页判决书中说到,很明显,出租人有两个义务,第一对于其所作出的立场必须是真诚地及有合理的基础。

  It is clear that there are two obligations into which the shipowner enters. He enters into the obligation of making an honest and reasonable statement about his position. That he discharged that is not questioned here. But he also entered into an obligation, which is expressed in the printed words of the charter, which I have read, that the ship "shall with all all convenient speed sail and proceed to Fort Churchill."

  在The “Myrtos” [1984] 2 Lloyds’ Rep.449案中,Leggatt法官在第452页判决书中引援了Devlin法官所说,并在第453页判决书中说到,出租人对于其所给出的船位必须是真诚的及有着合理的基础。

  In the present case it is common ground that the owners would have been subject to an obligation of making an honest and reasonable statement about their position and it is also to be noted that in the case of Louis Dreyfus & Co. v. Lauro, the Court was concerned with an implied term to use all convenient speed to proceed to the port of loading, an implied term closely similar to the express term adopted by the parties in the present charter-party.

  在CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services SA v Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd [2017] EWHC2579(Comm),The “Pacific Voyager”案中,高等法院的Popplewell法官在第22段判决书中说到,解约日期是承租人终止租约选择权的触发器,行使该选择权出租人并不承担任何责任,因此并不构成出租人的任何合约承诺。与ETA不同的是,它没有涉及到出租人承诺的到达时间的估计。如果出租人在装货港提供ETA,则该陈述必须真诚地给予并以合理的理由作出。如果没有给予ETA,则不承担此类责任。出租人可能准备同意取消他认为可能但非常不可能的解约日期,因为租约条款的吸引力和/或租船人不会行使解约权的看法。如果后者是他的动力,他甚至可能同意他不相信船舶的动态可以符合解约日期。如果他无法证明他有合理的基础相信该船舶将在该日期之前到达,那么就不能给予该日期的ETA,他是以这种方式为自己的商业利益下注。

  The cancelling date is the trigger for the charterers' termination option, the exercise of which exposes the owners to no liability; as such, it does not constitute any contractual promise by the owners. Unlike an ETA it does not on its face involve an estimate of an arrival time to which owners are committing. Where owners give ETA at the loading port, that statement must be honestly given and made on reasonable grounds: Samuel Sanday & Co v Keighley Maxted & Co. (1922) 27 Comm. Cas. 296. Where no ETA is given, no such responsibility is undertaken. An owner might be prepared to agree to a cancelling date which he regards as just possible, but very unlikely, that he will meet because of the attractiveness of the charter terms and/or a perception that the cancellation option will not be exercised by charterers. If the latter is his driving motivation, he might even agree to a cancelling date he does not believe the vessel can meet. He is entitled to bet on his own commercial interests in this way in a case where he could not establish that he had reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel would arrive by that date and so could not give an ETA of that date.

  在第23段判决书中,Popplewell法官继续说到,这些中间港口的ETA必须真诚地给予并且有合理的基础。它们被视为合同声明,尽管估计不是保证,与装货港的ETA相同。它们相当于到达装货港的ETA,目的是为了获得船舶可以预期开始其预备航次的时间,并且在合同第3条的义务下进行最大程度的速遣。

  These estimates were qualified by the rubric "IAGW/WP" (If All Goes Well/Weather Permitting), but that is no different in substance from the caveats which are implicit in an unqualified ETA at the loading port, which is merely an estimate based on what can reasonably be expected to occur in the normal course of events and without unexpectedly adverse weather. These intermediate port ETAs attracted the attendant Sanday v Keighley Maxted obligation that they must have been honestly given and on reasonable grounds. They are considered contractual statements, albeit estimates not guarantees, in the same way as an ETA at the loading port. They are equivalent to an ETA of arrival at the loading port for the purposes of deriving a time at which the Vessel could be expected to commence her approach voyage and come under the obligation in clause 3 to proceed there with utmost despatch.

  上诉法院的Longmore勋爵在第16段判决书中认为,增加的措辞“bss iagw/wp”并未强调任何表明该船舶只须遵守先前租船合同的意图。如果它有任何意义,那么就是强调在船舶行程中给出的估计中隐含的内容,即它们是真诚地并且基于合理基础给出的估计。

  The addition of the wording "bss iagw/wp" does not, in my judgment, "underscore" any intention to indicate that the Vessel was subject to a previous charter. If anything it serves to underscore what would anyway be implicit in the estimates given in the itinerary namely that they were estimates given honestly and on reasonable grounds.

  基于这些权威,可知一旦在租船合同中给出了相应的ETA,那么该陈述必须是真诚的并且有着合理的基础。Honestly和reasonable grounds两者并存,缺一不可。回到N轮的争议中来,租船合同中已经给予了抵达好望角及装货港的ETA,那么该ETA必须真诚地,在合理的基础上给予,但是N轮的出租人并未做到。无论从哪个角度出发,如前文所述,N轮预计7月14日抵达好望角,28日抵达装货港的ETA都没有合理的基础,承租人因此有权索赔损害赔偿。

  八、租船合同中包含ETA等情况下的“Monroe义务”

  首先来看看关于“Monroe义务”的背景。在Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Byan. (1935) 51 Ll.L.Rep. 179案中,出租人(原告)与承租人(被告)在1933年8月2日为Wythburn轮签订了一份租船合同,合同中相关条款约定如下:

  "expected ready to load about Sept. 11, 1933,"

  "shall with all convenient speed proceed to Hamburg or so near thereunto as she may safely get, and there load from the said charterers a full and complete cargo of 330 tons of sugar and 140 tons of salt . . . and being so laden shall proceed with all convenient speed to Merchants' Quay, Kilrush, and Ballylongford, or so near thereunto as she may safely get."

  Greer勋爵认为,在该案和其他案件中,这一陈述不仅仅是一种陈述,而是

  合同声明,是当事人之间合同的一部分,意味着他们认为该陈述是在合理的基础上真诚地作出的。

  Greer勋爵认为并没有权威约定例外适用于在开始所约定的航次之前的区域。它并不局限于船舶在租船合同下装货的时间,它确实包括船舶以所有方便的速度航行到达装货港的时间段。Greer勋爵同意Carver先生在其书中所表达的观点:但似乎这些例外不适用于在船舶开始租船合同之前所涉及可能发生的事项。

  Greer勋爵认为Blackburn勋爵在Harrison v. Garthorne, 26 L.T. 508案中引用的一些措辞,似乎支撑该观点,尽管没有对此实际的判决。但在Greer勋爵看来,

  如果就特定航次达成协议,该协议的所有条款都与该航次有关,而不是在航次开始之前可能发生的事情。不幸的是,必须提前约定的人必须承担相互冲突的风险,以防止履行其他合同,并且必须承担赔付损害赔偿金的后果,如果他们未能履行该合同的话。最终基于这些原因,Greer勋爵驳回上诉。

  当在租船合同中规定了出租人必须以所有便利的速度前往装货港,即尽力速遣的义务;而租船合同同时又规定了船舶预计可装货时间,上诉法院的法官们认为,出租人有绝对的义务在船舶预计可装货的日期开始预备航次,该义务也被习惯称为“Monroe义务”。

  在Evera S.A. Commercial v North Shipping Co Ltd (The “North Anglia”) [1956] 2 Lloyds Rep. 367案中,合同所涉及的描述及条款如下:

  now due to arrive U.K. to discharge about 30th August; estimating 14 days to discharge, expected ready to load under this charter-party about 27th Sept. 1953.

  That the said steamship being tight, staunch and strong, and in every way fitted for the voyage, shall with all convenient speed sail and proceed to Fort Churchill (Hudson Bay) and there load, always afloat, from said charterers or their agents, a full and complete cargo [of grain].

  Devlin法官认为在Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan, [1935] 2 K.B. 28; (1935) 51 Ll.L.Rep. 179案中已经非常清晰地确立,如Greer勋爵的判决,承租人在这种情况下没有权利期望船舶空闲及未被占据的。如果出租人希望出租其船舶借助租船合同或其它方式来安排,出租人有权利这么做。但是,如果新的合约使出租人无法履行他们在下一个航次中的义务,那么他们就有可能承担赔偿责任。换句话说,他们承担了风险,就像Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案所说的冲突交易一样。

  Devlin法官认为很明显,出租人的义务有两个。他承担了对其立场做出诚实且有合理基础的陈述的义务。在本案中没有受到质疑,可解除该责任。但是出租人也承担了一项义务,这个义务在租船合同的印刷文字中显示,这艘船“shall with all all convenient speed sail and proceed to Fort Churchill.”在这种情况下,船舶被起诉是违反该义务,如在Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案中被起诉一样,该义务的效果,加上租船合同中早先作出的准备声明,是对船舶施加绝对责任。在这种情况下,如同Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案,这艘船未能遵守。

  Devlin法官认为即使他得出另一个结论,他也应该受到Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案判决的限制。Devlin法官认为出租人能够免除其义务的唯一方法是,如果他能证明租船合同中的例外情况可以适用,也就是说,Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案的基础,在租船合同的例外情况下,有绝对义务。在Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案中这么判,Devlin法官不认为他被邀请在本案中作不同的判决;例外情况并不适用,因此Devlin法官认为出租人有绝对义务。

  Devlin法官认为没有理由将这一案件与Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案的原则区分开来,并且该原则适用本案。Devlin法官认为对出租人所施加的义务,即"shall with all convenient speed sail and proceed to Fort Churchill",与Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案所述的类似义务相同。在随后的Louis Dreyfus & Co. v. Lauro 案中,Devlin法官认为遵从了Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案的权威。如果租船合同中的例外情况有争议,如本案中不能归因于出租人,但实际上他违反了绝对义务。最终,Devlin法官认为出租人违反了绝对义务,做出对承租人有利的判决。

  在CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services SA v Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (The “Pacific Voyager”)[2017] EWHC2579(Comm),[2018] EWCA Civ 2413案中,所涉及的 相关的合同条款如下:

  Clause 3:

  "3. Subject to the provisions of this charter the vessel shall perform her service with utmost despatch and shall proceed to [Rotterdam or STS off Rotterdam] … and there…. load a full cargo…."

  v) The printed Part 1(B) of the Shellvoy 5 form provides for completion of "Position/Readiness" by two entries, one under "Now" and the other under "Expected ready to load". The agreed terms in the fixture recap provided for the inclusion in 1(B) of words which did not adopt either heading as such, but instead gave details of the anticipated timetable for completion of the current voyage in the following terms:

  "POSITION: ETA AIN SUKHNA 9 JAN, 2015 (PART DISCHARGE)

  ETA SUEZ CANAL 10 JAN, 2015 (TRANSIT)

  
ETA SIDI KERIR 12 JAN, 2015 (RE-LOADING)

  
ETA ANTIFER 25 JAN, 2015 (DISCHARGING)

  
ALL ABOVE BSS IAGW / WP"

  高等法院的Popplewell法官认为,由于争议是这些相互冲突的利益之间的合同风险分配问题,所以在每个案子中,争议都会根据双方商定的特定租船合同条款进行,这是一个解释和/或条款含义的问题。这一解释过程由既定的判例法提供,包括初审,因为标准的租船合同形式及其适应性是根据管理常用表达和装置的既定原则制定的。在采用或改编这些形式时,以及在使用这些表达和装置时,可以认为当事方在这些原则的基础上签订了合同。商业合同中的确定性以及实施当事人交易的必要性要求,在解释有关的特定租船合同时,法院应适用类似措辞的已报告的判决,包括初审的判决,除非有充分的理由偏离它们。风险分配通常由出租人提供抵达装货港的ETA来处理,并依据Monroe案所确立的承担相应的后果。如果租船合同中没有这样的ETA,则必须考虑其他租船合同条款以确定风险分配。

  Popplewell法官认为“Monroe义务”被认为是绝对义务而不是恪尽职责义务有以下两个原因:首先,驶往装货港的责任出现的日期是当事方需要能够合理确定地识别的日期。这是租约服务开始的日期以及前往装货港的明确责任的日期。此外,通常是参考出租人的其他义务的日期。在这种情况下,在前往装货港的责任出现时附加了出租人对船舶描述和船舶适航性的义务。其次,预备航次开始的日期标志着各方通过适用租船合同条款为延迟和其他可能性分配风险和责任而分担的分界点。在此之前,租船合同中规定的延误风险和责任的条款不适用,承租人没有发言权;而在此前一段时间内,出租人有权以其他租约服务的方式雇用该船舶从事其他租约服务获利,而这些条款是他们与另一名承租人讨价还价的结果。随后的租船人,用Branson法官的话说,与那租约没有任何关系。因此,在没有明确表示相反的明确语言的情况下,在之前的租约服务期间发生事故或延误的风险的分配应落在出租人自己身上。Greer勋爵在第37页判决书中确定了风险分配。该基本原理Devlin法官在The North Anglia案中说到,“简而言之,就是这样的立场,即如果一个出租人想要在一个航行的开始之前取决于前一次航行的完结,他必须明确说出这一点。显然有许多事情需要如果这样的安排应该对双方都公平,那就可以解决。在这种情况下,出租人可能会想到这就是他想要的。但是,如果他确实考虑到了这一点,他就没有把它变成这样一种语言,使任何合理的承租人都明白,承租人被邀请接受承租人并不关心的早期租船合同的延误风险。将这些风险传递给一个人。根据我认为,不是该租船合同的当事方,如果没有明确的措辞,则至少需要比本案所采用的语言更清晰的语言。”

  Popplewell法官经过对先例的分析认为,如所引述的每一份程租租约一样,本租船合约中出租人有绝对义务,当租船合同第3条规定有义务在特定的时间点前往装货港,出租人必须开始预备航次。该时间是一个合理的时间,并且根据其他租船合同条款确定该合理时间。最终判出租人得承担损害赔偿责任,出租人不服判决,上诉。

  I conclude, therefore, that as in each of the voyage charter cases I have cited, there is in this charterparty an absolute duty on the Owners to commence the approach voyage, when the clause 3 obligation to proceed to the loading port attaches, at a particular point of time. That time is to be a reasonable time, and the identification of when is reasonable falls to be determined in the light of the other charterparty terms.

  上诉法院的Longmore勋爵认为,如果航次租约中包含一项规定,即出租人将以一切便利的速度(或最大限度地速遣)前往装货港,并且还提供预计到达装货港时间或预计准备就绪的日期,在合理确定船舶将在预定日期或其附近到达时,出租人绝对有义务开始预备航次;租船合同中的任何例外情况均不适用于预备航次开始前的时段。

  It is well settled that if a voyage charter contains a provision that the shipowner will proceed with all convenient speed (or with utmost despatch) to a loading port and also gives a date of expected time of arrival or expected readiness to load at the loading port, there is an absolute obligation to commence the voyage to the loading port at such time as it is reasonably certain that the vessel will arrive on or around the expected date; any exceptions in the charterparty do not apply to the period before the approach voyage begins.

  Longmore勋爵认为如果有人询问本租船合同中是否有任何规定可以求助于确定什么是合理的时间,那么答案几乎是不言而喻的。该行程已被用于排除“立即”的意思;它必须同样可以使各方(以及必要时,法院)能够决定最大限度速遣义务的合理时间是什么;在此基础上,正如承租人代表律师所主张,假设一旦合理的卸货时间过去,船舶将离开Antifer前往鹿特丹。由于从Antifer / Le Havre到鹿特丹的距离相对较短,该合理时间将于2015年1月28日左右开始。由于出租人未在该日期或之前(或实际上,在任何其他时间)行使尽力速遣义务,出租人违约,承租人有权主张相应的损害赔偿。

  If therefore one asks whether there is any provision in this charterparty to which one may have recourse to determine what is a reasonable time the answer is almost self-evident. The itinerary has already been used to exclude the possibility that "forthwith" is meant; it must surely be equally usable to enable the parties (and, if necessary, the court) to decide what is the reasonable time at which the obligation of utmost despatch is to attach; on this basis the reasonable time is, as Mr Russell submits, such time as it is reasonable to suppose the Vessel will leave Antifer for Rotterdam once a reasonable time for discharging has elapsed. Since the distance from Antifer/Le Havre to Rotterdam is comparatively short that would be on or about 28th January 2015. Since the Owner did not exercise the utmost despatch on or about that date, (or indeed, at any other time) the Owner is in breach and the Charterer is entitled to damages accordingly.

  为了回应Devlin法官在The North Anglia案第376页判决所说,Longmore勋爵认为如果出租人旨在前一个航次完结之后才开始本租约服务,那么在本租约中必须需要更加清晰明确的措辞。Longmore勋爵认为如果本案租约没有给予前一航次船舶的动态描述,而只有解约日期,那么结果将可能不同。最终Longmore勋爵维持Popplewell法官的判决,出租人上诉被驳回。

  从这些判例可以看出,当租船合同中规定出租人有尽力速遣之义务,而在合同中给予了船舶预计到达时间或预计可装货时间或类似的措辞,那么出租人有绝对义务在可合理确定船舶能于所给予的日期开始预备航次。该义务是绝对的,非谨慎义务。回到N轮的争议中来,租船合同中已经给出了预计抵港时间,那么出租人在签订合约的时候,就有绝对的义务,尽力速遣其船舶;而出租人并未做到,因此承租人有权索赔损害赔偿。

  总结:

  基于前文所给出详细理由,并简单归纳如下,笔者认为N轮的出租人得承担由于船舶错过解约日期所引起的损害赔偿责任。
  
  1. N轮的出租人中途选择绕航,挂靠南非的伊丽莎白港,违反了默示的尽力速遣之义务;
      
  2. 所给予船舶的动态的陈述缺乏真诚并且没有合理的基础,因此不能依赖WOG来寻求免责;
      
  3. 租船合同规定出租人有尽力速遣之义务,同时声明了船舶的ETA,但出租人未尽力速遣,违反了绝对义务。

  而一旦出租人违反了该绝对义务,那么如Longmore勋爵所说的,承租人可

  索赔的是damage,,而非loss。Damage所包含的范围较loss广,这和可预见或是否过于遥远无关。N轮所涉及的索赔约18万美金,并非小数目;无法理解协会为何轻易放弃找出租人索赔此金额。虽然在期间就WOG的解释,在涉及到船吊安全负荷的问题上给出了和N轮案争议相反的观点,但并不改变在N轮争议案中,关于船舶动态的陈述中纵然加了WOG,但出租人依然得承租相应的损害赔偿责任,该观点从未改变。

  现在回头再来看看该陈述:

  PLEASE ADIVSE:

  -VSLS FULL / DETAILED ITINERARY: VSL SAILING WITH 14KTS ETA COGH 18TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP ETA PARA 28TH JUL IFAGW WOG WP.

  在租船合同中第8条对于尽力速遣也作了要求:

  8. That the Captain shall prosecute his voyages with the utmost despatch,...

  笔者一直认为出租人违反了这条关于船舶动态(ETA)的陈述,需要承担责任,但是协会律师似乎都忽略了这一点。如果没有相同的措辞或类似的条款,笔者认为就算是最新的判例,比如The “Pacific Voyager”案对于N轮争议也没有帮助,这些先例和本争议并无相关。如Roche勋爵在Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Byan. (1935) 51 Ll.L.Rep. 179案中所说,仅希望就例外条款的范围和效果提出一些补充意见,但不希望他的判决被理解为与任何案件有关,而是仅仅与当前案子有关,或者在合同条款相似的情况下。

  I desire to make a few additional observations as to the scope and effect of the exceptions clause. I make these additional observations, but I do desire that my judgment should not be understood to relate to any case but the present, or where the contract is in similar terms.

  而在Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Byan. (1935) 51 Ll.L.Rep. 179案中的描述如下:

  "expected ready to load about Sept. 11, 1933,"

  在Evera S.A. Commercial v North Shipping Co Ltd (The “North Anglia”) [1956] 2 Lloyds Rep. 367案中,Devlin法官认为如果在租船合同中使用相同的措辞作为上诉法院已经解释过的措辞,那么,尽管这是一个不同的租船合同,他应该受到Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案判决的约束。Devlin法官认为如他自处理了出租人代表律师的主张,即Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan案并没有对该点提出任何规则。Devlin法官认为事实上,严格来说,他并不认为权威当局可以制定任何关于解释另一个租船合同的规则,但无论那些措辞应该赋予其自然解释。

  I suppose I might have said that, where the same words are used in the charter-party as the words that have already been construed in the Court of Appeal, then, notwithstanding that this a different charter-party, I should be bound, looking at those words by themselves, to follow Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan, sup. But I have dealt with it myself in deference to Mr. Ashton Roskill's submission that Monroe Brothers, Ltd. v. Ryan, sup., laid down no rule on this point. Indeed, strictly, I do not think that an authority can lay down any rule about construing another charter-party. But that is the natural construction which, in any event, should be put upon those words.

  该案中合同所涉及的描述及条款如下:

  …now due to arrive U.K. to discharge about 30th August; estimating 14 days to discharge, expected ready to load under this charter-party about 27th Sept. 1953.

  That the said steamship being tight, staunch and strong, and in every way fitted for the voyage, shall with all convenient speed sail and proceed to Fort Churchill (Hudson Bay) and there load, always afloat, from said charterers or their agents, a full and complete cargo [of grain].

  还有CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services SA v Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (The “Pacific Voyager”)[2017] EWHC2579(Comm),[2018] EWCA Civ 2413案中,所涉及的相关的合同条款如下:

  Clause 3:

  "3. Subject to the provisions of this charter the vessel shall perform her service with utmost despatch and shall proceed to [Rotterdam or STS off Rotterdam] … and there…. load a full cargo…."

  v) The printed Part 1(B) of the Shellvoy 5 form provides for completion of "Position/Readiness" by two entries, one under "Now" and the other under "Expected ready to load". The agreed terms in the fixture recap provided for the inclusion in 1(B) of words which did not adopt either heading as such, but instead gave details of the anticipated timetable for completion of the current voyage in the following terms:

  "POSITION: ETA AIN SUKHNA 9 JAN, 2015 (PART DISCHARGE)

  ETA SUEZ CANAL 10 JAN, 2015 (TRANSIT)

  ETA SIDI KERIR 12 JAN, 2015 (RE-LOADING)

  ETA ANTIFER 25 JAN, 2015 (DISCHARGING)

  ALL ABOVE BSS IAGW / WP"

  这里关于船舶动态,位置的描述都大同小异;那么合约的解释的必然结果是,为了商业的确定性,有相同或类似条款的判决对N轮有约束力。英国作为判例法国家,历经数百年所积淀下来的无数先例,不断地被后来的法官修正完善。普通法的合约解释是连续性的而不是变化,英国法律作为商业事宜选择法律制度的一个吸引力在于其稳定性和连续性,特别是在合约解释方面。因此在有相同条款或类似措辞的情况下,必须遵循先例。如在CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services SA v Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (The “Pacific Voyager”)[2018] EWCA Civ 2413案中,Longmore勋爵认为,每份租船合同都必须按照其本身的条款来解释,到目前为止,这是无可争议。但是在商业世界(例如航运界),为了商业确定性,必须将之前关于相同或类似条款的判决视为具有权威性。尽管应该最好避免使用诸如“神圣主义”这样的短语,但是之前出现过的类似措辞的先前案例应该被视为类似于有类似情况的案件的有用指南。

  I would for my part accept Mr Croall's first submission to the extent that every charterparty must be construed on its own terms; so far, so uncontroversial. But in a business world (such as the shipping world) previous decisions on the same or similar clauses must be treated as authoritative in the interests of business certainty. Although phrases such as "hallowed doctrine" (pace Staughton J in the Rio Claro [1987] 2 Lloyds Rep 173, 179) should perhaps best be avoided, previous cases on similar wording should be regarded as helpful guides in situations similar to situations that have arisen before.

  基于N轮的租船合同有着类似的措辞及条款,在遵循这些先例的基础上,认定N轮的出租人违反尽力速遣的绝对义务并不为过。如《Restatement of Contracts》一书中所说的:

  Contract liability is strict liability. it is an accepted maxim that pacta sunt servanda, contracts are to be kept. the obligor is therefore liable in damages for breach of contract even if he is without fault and even if circumstances have made the contract more burdensome or less desirable that he anticipated.

  合约责任是严格责任。这是一个公认的格言,合约是要维持的。即使债务人没有过错,即使情况使合约更加沉重或不太合乎预期,他也要承担违约责任。

  虽然N轮绕航伊丽莎白港时间并不久,但出租人依然是违反了尽力速遣之义务;在租船合同中给出了船舶抵港具体ETA日期的情况下,N轮的出租人违反了尽力速遣的绝对义务,因此需要承担违约所带来的损害赔偿责任。

  修改完成于2018.11.28

  海运圈聚焦专栏作者 Alex (微信公众号 航运佬)
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