从The“Radauti”案看不可抗力条款

航运佬2019-06-29 19:54:24


【摘要】在航运实务中,经常会碰到港口压港的情况;甚至在订约当时就已经知道了港口压港,那么这种可预见的压港,承租人是否可引援不可抗力条款来免除责任呢?本文通过对The“Radauti案来说说这个问题。

【关键词】Force Majeure、可预见性、压港、不可抗力

 

  珠江及长江两区域因往来船舶众多,航道繁忙,加上船员素质高低不同的因素,时常有报道发生船舶碰撞,甚至沉船等事故。比如去年年底珠江口发生沉船事故,导致了航道被封了十多天。有人询问笔者,该事件是否属于不可抗力?如果以不可抗力为由,拒绝支付滞期费是否有道理?为此,感觉有必要对这类因当局封港封航是否可归属于不抗力,当事人是否可以引援并试图去免除责任予以澄清。

   那么首先来了解一下,“Force Majeure的简单含义。参《Black’sLaw Dictionary》,对ForceMajeure的解释如下:在保险法中,超级或不可抗拒的力量。这种强制条款在建造合同中很常见,以保护如果由于当事方不能控制的原因导致合同的一部分无法履行且无法通过谨慎行事来避免。石油和天然气租赁条款,规定承租人将不被认为违反了租赁条款,当承租人因不可抗力(字面意思是“超强的力量”)而被阻止。通常情况下,这些条款具体表明问题超出了承租人的合理控制,这将会免除履约责任。

Force majeure

In the law of insurance, superior or irresistible force. Such clause FORCIBLE ENTRY is common in construction contracts to protect the parties in the event that apart of the contract cannot be performed due to causes which are outside thecontrol of

the parties and could not be avoided by exercise of due care. An oil and gas lease clause that provides that the lessee will not be held to have breached the lease terms

while the lessee is prevented by force majeure (literally, "superior force")from performing. Typically, such clauses specifically indicate problems beyondthe reasonable control of the lessee that will excuse performance.

See also Actof God; Vis major.

 

通常认为,不可抗力说的是Force Majeure,但“Force Majeure这是法语,用英语表述即为Act of God,而“Vis major则为拉丁文,用我们中文来说就是“不可抗力”。

Black’s Law Dictionary》中对 “Act of God的解释如下:

Act of God.

An act occasioned exclusively by forces of nature without the interference of any human agency. A misadventure or casualty is said to be caused by the "act of God," when it happens by the direct, immediate, and exclusive operation ofthe forces of nature, uncontrolled and uninfluenced by the power of man, and without human intervention, and is of such a character that it could not have been prevented or escaped from by any amount of foresight or prudence, or by any reasonable degree of care or diligence, or by the aid of any appliances which the situation of the party might reasonably require him to use. Any accidentproduced by any physical cause which is irresistible, such as lightning,tempests, perils of the seas, tornados, earthquakes.

Middaugh v.U.S., D.C.Wyo.,293 F.Supp. 977,

980. See Inevitable accident; Perils of the sea; Vis major.

这种行为完全是由自然力量引起的,不受任何人类的干涉。这是一场不幸事故或意外事故,由“上帝的行为”造成的。当它发生在自然力量的直接的,即时的和排他性的作用下,不受人类的力量控制和影响的时候,没有人的干预,而且具有这样一种性质,它不可能被任何远见或审慎,或任何合理的谨慎或勤勉的程度,或借助当事人的情况可能合理要求他使用的任何器械。任何由于任何不可抗拒的物理原因所造成的事故,例如闪电,暴风雨,海险,龙卷风,地震等。
   这种
Act of God的解释更多地是偏向自然力的原因;但不可抗力还包括人力方面的,比如战争,骚乱,武装劫持,或者没收等。当然如何去界定,当事人是否可以成功引援这些不可抗力来免责,还得根据特定的事实情况。在订约自由的情况下(Freedomof contract),当事人可以通过额外增加的条款来明确列明可归于不可抗力的事项。如果没有列明,那么法官将对试图引援不可抗力条款来免责的一方作出严格的解释。

   对于这个订约自由,可以参Chittyon Contracts的如下说明:

The parties were supposed to be the best judges oftheir owner interests, and if they freely and voluntarily entered into acontract, the only function of the law was to enforce it. It was immaterial that one partywas economically in a stronger bargaining position than the other. If he introduced qualifications and exceptions to his liability, e.g. in what areknown today as exemption clauses, and the other party accepted them, then full effect would be given to what the parties agreed.

       当事方应该被认为是他们自己利益的最好的法官,如果他们自由地及自愿地签订合约,那么法律的唯一功能就是执行。一方比另一方在经济上更能讨价还价这并不重要。如果他介绍其责任的资格和例外情况,例如在今天所知的豁免条款中,另一方接受了这些条款,那么双方所同意的应充分发挥作用。

因此,当事人可以借助订约自由的原则,只要不违法且能说服对方,那么可以将任意事项归为不可抗力在合同中列明,以免除自己的责任。

 

    接下来就来看看本文介绍的,TheRadauti案。

 

 

一、基本案情
   1977年9月16日,Navrom(以下简称为“出租人”)将他们的船“Raduit轮(以下简称“该轮”)租给Callitsis Ship Management S.A.(以下简称为“承租人”)。执行一个从鹿特丹装袋装小麦面粉,到利比亚的TripoliBenghazi