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PhD ceremony Mr. A. Kharchanka: The meaning of a good safe port and berth in a modern shipping world

When:Th 27-02-2014 at 11:00
Where:Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

PhD ceremony: Mr. A. Kharchanka

Dissertation: The meaning of a good safe port and berth in a modern shipping world

Promotor(s): prof. M.H. ten Wolde

Faculty: Law

Sailing from one port to another in order to deliver goods is one of the main purposes of any commercial maritime adventure. Although most of the ports in the world have some kind of navigational history and are described in detail on maps, groundings, delays, and other accidents still occur to vessels. With the growing complexity of vessels and the increasing cost of their operation, the amount of damages that the ship owner can suffer by delaying a vessel due to congestion or repairs can be significant.

The issue of safe ports and berths naturally stems from the vessel’s operation. This dissertation delineates a meaning of safe ports and berth under English and American law, discusses a standard of culpability of the parties, and sets benchmarks on physical, political, administrative and ecological safety.

A standard of liability of the parties responsible for nomination of the port is explained in detail. Under English law, it is a warranty of the charterers that encompasses strict liability for nomination of an unsafe port. American law provides two approaches: one of a warranty given by the charterers; another of a duty of due diligence of the charterers in selecting a port.

Physical, political, administrative and environmental conditions of the port are discussed with examples of court’s decisions and arbitration awards. The dissertation concludes with a proposal that the due diligence approach will best reflect the modern realities of the shipping world.

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