ICA Claims – Preserving Time
The inter-club agreement is designed to prevent litigation. It normally does so, so any reporting providing further clarity is welcome.
In a recent arbitration, charterers faced a cargo claim from shippers. In turn, Charterers sought to pass that claim to Owners under the ICA. Clause 6 ICA requires “written notification” of the claim, to include “if possible… details [of the claim]” within 24 months of the delivery of the cargo. Here, there were a series of agreements for extensions of time to commence an action. Despite those extensions, Owners sought to rely Clause 6 ICA to say the claim was time barred. They failed – but not because of the time extensions. The Tribunal held that written notification of the claim had already been transmitted to Owners, so Clause 6 was (in part) satisfied. All that is required is some form of written notice. The second part of Clause 6, which requires claim details, is not necessary to preserve time. A failure to provide these details is a breach, and would give rise to a counter-claim in damages (we note that practically, it is hard to see how this could lead to any loss). This case suggests that the ICA time bar is easily satisfied. No need to commence a claim, no need to include claim details. Just a written notification.