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Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

For our Singapore office, for client enquiries please contact our BD Director, Asia Pacific, Lara Quie and for all other queries please contact Lynn Quek. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

Twenty Essex
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

Contact

Contact with chambers should be made through the Practice Management Team. They are happy to discuss client requirements and provide further information on such matters as the expertise and experience of individual members, fees, working practices and languages spoken. We have members able to work in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Greek and Chinese (Mandarin).

Outside working hours, a member of our team is always available to be contacted on matters of an urgent nature. Contact should be made using the Chambers main number or email.

For our Singapore office, for client enquiries please contact our BD Director, Asia Pacific, Lara Quie and for all other queries please contact Lynn Quek. Out of office hours calls will automatically be diverted to our clerking team in London.

London

Twenty Essex
London
WC2R 3AL

enquiries@twentyessex.com
t: +44 20 7842 1200
DX 0009 Lond/Chan Lane

Singapore

28 Maxwell Road
#02-03
Maxwell Chambers Suites
Singapore 069120

singapore@twentyessex.com
t: +65 62257230

24/06/2022

Shagang Giant

NKD Ltd v Bart Maritime

Decision of the Honourable Mr Justice Butcher of 24 June 2022.

The dispute arose directly out of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions imposed by the Government of India during March and April 2020 and their impact, if any, on Bart’s ability to transfer title of the vessel to her intended buyers, NKD. In April 2020 NKD had purported to terminate the MOA on grounds of force majeure arguing that the Indian Government lockdown rendered Bart unable to transfer title and/or NKD unable to accept transfer of title over the vessel. NKD sued Bart for the return of the deposit paid to Bart in advance under the terms of an amended MOA.

Following a seven day trial held before the honourable Mr Justice Butcher in the Commercial Court, NKD’s claim for the return of their deposit paid to Bart was dismissed. Mr Justice Butcher also held that NKD’s termination on grounds of force majeure was an act of default under the terms of the MOA. He further held that Bart’s counter-claim succeeded to the extent that they were entitled to a declaration that they could retain the deposit paid to them by NKD in full.

The decision is an important and timely one given it turned directly on the construction of a force majeure clause and on a party’s “ability” to perform specifically in the context of effecting transfer of title over a vessel. Consideration of the direct impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on such “ability” was a key issue arising. Mr Justice Butcher’s decision also provides useful dicta and guidance as to the principles of construction to be applied to similarly worded MOAs, in particular regarding the distinction between “delivery” and “transfer of title” over a vessel.

Timothy Young QC and Colleen Hanley acted for the successful Defendant, Bart Maritime, the owners and sellers of the “Shagang Giant”, a VLOC (very large ore carrier) vessel destined for green recycling in Alang, India. They were instructed by Wikborg Rein, London.

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Relevant members
Timothy Young KC Colleen Hanley
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