Surf days

Surf days. Laytime can be interrupted by bad weather and by meteorological conditions, which may interfere with loading and/or discharging.

This effect can also be caused by the sea waves or swell breaking upon a beach or shore and preventing or hindering the navigation of barges, lighters or small craft which may be used fox bringing cargo to or taking it from a vessel. The phrase, which is similar in effect to “weather working days” (which see above), may be found in charterparties for vessels loading or discharging in ports where cargo has to be transhipped to or from lighters. It is said that the vessel would load (or discharge) in the “roads”, that is in the approaches to the port area, perhaps because the water depth or berthing facilities are insufficient for the vessel. An example would be where vessels load nitrates off shore at ports in Chile.

If surf conditions interfere with the lighters this may not necessarily interrupt laytime, which relates to the vessel’s loading and/or discharging from or to the lighters. In some ports it may be a “custom of the port” (“COP”) to stop cargo handling on days on which surf conditions are restrictive of loading and/or discharging. The charterparty must be expressly worded to avoid dispute as to whether laytime can be counted or not. Normally, despite custom, “surf days” are still “working days”.

High swell, by itself, is not necessarily a condition leading to interruption of laytime caused by a “surf day”. (For a case in which swell conditions prevented the berthing of the vessel and therefore the commencement of laytime, see The Notes, 1987, under Time lost waiting for berth.)


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Suspension of laytime