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Web Alert: Recent case demonstrates the Rotterdam courts ability to deal with local maritime claims swiftly

19 January 2016

The M/V Mongolia [1] was chartered on a bareboat charterparty form to the Charterer. The Owner failed to register the bareboat charter on the ship’s registry entry, as a result of which the Charterer was unable to operate the ship as required.
The charterer had no other choice but to lay up the ship and subsequently gave notice of their intention to redeliver the ship, at Rotterdam, as per the charterparty terms and conditions.
Despite the fact that the charterparty contained a law and jurisdiction clause for English law and London arbitration, the charterer nonetheless applied to the Rotterdam court seeking damages for the costs incurred in maintaining the ship whilst in lay up at the Rotterdam anchorage.
The owner argued that the charterer's petition was for final judgment and the applicable forum should instead have been arbitration in London. The Rotterdam court disagreed and found in favour of the charterer, granting an award for the maintenance costs incurred whilst the ship was laid up at Rotterdam. 
This judgment reflects the Rotterdam courts’ flexibility and ability to deal with maritime claims swiftly and adequately where time and money is of the essence. Here the charterer was successful in securing their claim within weeks.

[1] Rechtbank Rotterdam 7 August 2015, ECLI:NL:RBROT:2015:5907