“Titan Glory” et al.,  EWHC 3492 (Comm), Hamblen J.
On 13 November 2013, Hamblen J. gave judgment on the trial of claims concerning the Pacific Star fleet of 8 VLCCs, Titan Glory, Saturn Glory, Neptune Glory, Mercury Glory, Pluto Glory, Artemis Glory, Leo Glory and Younara Glory. The Pacific Star VLCCs were trading under long-term period time charters akin to financing leases, entered into before markets collapsed in late 2008 and early 2009. A Charter Restructuring Agreement (“CRA”) dated 31 March 2010 amended the time charters, inter alia, by providing for a measure of deferral of time charter hire during 2010-2014 inclusive.
The Claimant Owners claimed it was a basic element of the agreed restructuring that minimum hire of US$22,000 per day (the CRA ‘Floor Rate’) would always be payable, not deferred. The Defendant Charterers and Guarantor, Pacific Star, alleged that the Floor Rate yielded, on six-monthly hire payment adjustments required by the CRA, to the full variability of the Clarkson’s index rate referred to in the CRA as the ‘Market Rate’. Further issues arose between the parties during the course of the proceedings.
Hamblen J. was not persuaded that upon the proper construction of the CRA, it had the meaning contended for by the Owners, but upheld their claim for rectification. To do so, the judge considered and applied Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd  1 AC 1101 and Daventry District Council v Daventry & District Housing Ltd  1 WLR 1333. The parties reached a clear accord at a meeting in Geneva that the Floor Rate would always be payable, and not deferred, by the six-monthly adjustment mechanism or otherwise. A signed Term Sheet drawn up to record that accord, and subsequently the final, binding CRA, were intended (objectively) to give effect to, not to depart from or alter, that accord. The entire agreement clause in the CRA did not defeat the claim for rectification (see Hodge on Rectification, paras.3-165 to 3-168).
The judge upheld the Owners’ argument on one other point of construction of the CRA and their argument that there was no off hire for Saturn Glory and Neptune Glory as had been claimed by the Charterers. In light of his conclusions, dealing with consequential matters on 14 November 2013, Hamblen J. rectified the CRA and gave judgment for the Owners for (in aggregate) c.US$38 million, plus interest and costs.