Ready berth clause. In a “berth charter” it is important to include a stipulation in a charterparty to the effect that the Notice of Readiness can be tendered (and laydays will begin to count) as soon as the vessel has arrived at the port of loading or discharge “whether in berth or not”.
It can happen in practice that a vessel for which no berth is available immediately after arrival is ordered by the port authorities to anchor outside the official port limits awaiting berth, in which case difficulties may arise if the charterer decides that the vessel is not an “arrived ship” and for this reason is prevented from tendering notice of readiness.
In order to protect shipowners’ interests against delay, which arises when ships have to wait for a berth at an anchorage inside or outside the commercial area of a port, BIMCO has suggested its members insist upon inclusion of the following “waiting for berth clause” (Code name: “Waitberth”):
“ . . . if a suitable loading berth is not available on vessel’s arrival at or off the port, or so near thereto as she may be permitted to approach, the vessel shall be entitled to give notice of readiness on arrival there with the effect that laytime counts as if she were in berth and in all respects ready for loading, provided that the master warrants that she is in fact ready in all respects for loading. Actual time occurred in moving from place of stoppage to loading berth not to count as laytime. If vessel after berthing is found not ready in all respects, vessel must re-tender under the charter party.”