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The ‘About’ Margin in Speed-Consumption Warranty - Dr. Arun Kasi

Dr. Arun Kasi, 4-5 Grays Inn Square 


This article (in the same or a different version) previously appeared on The Marine Law Box, No. 5, August, 2021.

The speed-consumption warranty in time charterparties is usually qualified in a few ways. One of that is qualifying it with the word ‘about’. The other common qualifications include subjecting the warranty to good weather, Beauford scale wind force not exceeding code 4 (or code 5 in case of tankers), Douglas sea state scale not exceeding code 3, etc. This paper is only on the ‘about’ qualification.

The ‘about’ qualification may attach to the speed part of the warranty, or it may attach to the consumption part, or to both. Sometimes, a general ‘about’ qualification may be attached like ‘all details about’ (abbreviated as ‘ADA’) to all the descriptions of the vessel including the speed-consumption warranty. Typically, the ‘about’ qualification attached to the speed part has been interpreted to give a margin in the shipowner’s favour of 0.5 knot, and when attached to the consumption part it has been interpreted to allow 5% margin in the shipowner’s favour. So, ‘about 14 knots’ will mean the warranted minimum speed is 13.5 knots. ‘About 30 mt IFO 380’ will mean the warranted maximum consumption is 28.5 mt of the fuel. The allowance is always in the shipowner favour when an underperformance claim is made by the charterer (Luxor Trading Corporation v Geogas Enterprise SA (The “Al Bida”) [1987] 1 Lloyd's Rep 124 CA; London Arbitration 01/07).


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