WIBON is a condition in a charter party agreement that affects the computation of the free or allotted time that a charterer has to load or unload goods whether the vessel is in berth or not. This allotted time is referred to as laytime.
Essentially, WIBON can potentially initiate the counting of the laytime almost immediately. This is because a Notice of Readiness (NOR) can already be issued upon arrival of the vessel as long as it’s in the port’s commercial area and not necessarily in the actual berth.
The issuance of an NOR indicates that the vessel is at the disposal of the charterer (the party that leases the vessel) and that the counting of the laytime may begin except if the vessel is outside the port’s commercial limits.
When is an NOR Released and How Does It Affect Laytime Under a WIBON Clause
Before the counting of laytime can officially be initiated, the issuance of an NOR is required. The charterer (also known as the cargo owner) is required to fully load the vessel within the agreed laytime. Failing to do say may incur vessel demurrage, which is typically charged on a daily hire rate.
Therefore, laytime can only start once the vessel is made available to the charterer through a Notice of Readiness, commonly referred to as an NOR. In order for the shipowner to issue an NOR three conditions need to be met:
- The vessel has reached the agreed place as stated in the charter party. THis location is typically the port of loading or unloading. Once reached, the vessel has officially arrived.
- The vessel is physically ready. This means the vessel is made available to the charterer and can be loaded or unloaded safely.
- The vessel must be legally ready. Local government authorities such as customs and immigration have deemed the vessel clear for port entry or departure.
The shipowner (master) formally communicates the NOR in the form of an email, letter, or telex to the charterer of the vessel. Thereafter, the calculation of laytime can begin.
WIBON Case Study
To better understand the the WIBON clause, we’ve prepared a sample of an NOR that shipowner shares with the charterer, as well as a detailed case study.
Sample NOR (for WIBON Clauses)
Name of Vessel & Voyage Number: Big Lift California v025w Port: Bangkok, Thailand To: ISI Steel Company Inc. I herewith tender you this vessel, of which I am the Master, as being ready in all respect to LOAD her cargo of 25,000 MT of steel pipes. The notice is tendered this day May 5, 2022, at 1030 hours subject to the terms, conditions, and exceptions of the charter party agreement. _____________ Captain Justin Jameson Date and Time Acknowledged: _____________ Receiver Name and Signature: _____________
A valid NOR must be submitted to the authorized person, clearly stating how the NOR was sent with the date and time included and within the bounds mentioned earlier.
Legal Case Study of NOR & the Implications of a WIBON Provision
This case study involves The Agamemnon (1 Lloyds Rep 675) with the main dispute being the NOR issuance and the ‘arrived ship’ status. An arrived ship status principally implies that the vessel is at rest at the agreed location in the charter party agreement.
In this case, the vessel Agamemnon was chartered for a shipment to load steel pipes from Baton Rouge to Brisbane. The vessel was in the South West Pass, an area 170 miles from Baton Rouge, and it was established that the vessel was not within the port commercial area.
Despite this, the NOR was issued by the ship’s Master. The NOR was eventually invalidated and the start of the laytime was readjusted to the correct date.