Maritime National Fish Ltd v Ocean Trawlers Ltd

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12/10/18 Cases Reference this

Last modified: 12/10/18 Author: In-house law team

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Maritime National Fish Ltd v Ocean Trawlers Ltd [1935] AC 524

(1935) 51 Ll L Rep 299; [1935] 104 LJPC 88; [1935] 18 Asp MLC 551;

[1935] All ER Rep 86; 79 Sol Jo 320, 153 LT 425

Facts

The respondents owned a steam trawler, which was fitted with an otter trawl. The vessel could only operate as a trawler. The respondents chartered the vessel to the appellants. According to the charterparty, the vessel could only be used in the fishing industry. The charterparty was renewed for a year in October 1932. At the time, both parties knew that under the Canadian statute, it was an offence to leave a Canadian port with the intent to fish with a vessel with an otter trawl, unless licensed to do so by the Minister. In March 1933, the appellants applied to the Minister to grant them licences for five trawlers that they were operating. The Minister informed that appellants that only three licences would be granted and asked them to name in respect of which three vessels they should be granted. The appellants named the three trawlers and the vessel in question was not among them. Subsequently, they claimed that they were no longer bound by the charterparty as it was frustrated by the refusal of the Minister to grant a licence in respect of the steam trawler in question.

Issue

(1) Was there a frustration of the charterparty because a licence was not granted in respect of the steam trawler?

(2) Did the charterers remain liable for the hire?

Held

The decision was in favour of the respondents.

(1) There was no frustration of the charterparty as the absence of a licence was due to the fact that the appellants’ choice of vessels, which were to be granted licences.

(2) Therefore, the appellants remained liable for the hire of the vessel.

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