Whether or not owners are in breach of the charter party for failing to comply with MARPOL Annex VI Regulations 14 and/or 18 will depend on the terms of the charter. Under a time charter party where it is charterers’ obligation to provide the fuel oil, it needs to be established who is at fault, i.e. is the MARPOL Annex VI non-compliance caused by the ship or the fuel oil? Where the MARPOL Annex VI non-compliance is caused by the ship, for example by a malfunction of the scrubber, and this constitutes a breach of the charter party, charterers may be entitled to damages and compensation for loss of time or delay to cargo.
If the scrubber breaks down, and there is not enough low sulphur fuel oil on board to complete the voyage, the ship will be in breach of MARPOL Annex VI. Even if the crew has followed all recommended procedures and notified all required parties (including port of departure, next port of arrival, flag, class, etc.), but the port State imposes sanctions such as fines or detentions for MARPOL Annex VI non-compliance on the ship, owners will be ultimately liable for the fines and consequences of the detention, unless the charter party provides otherwise.
Therefore, it is recommended to include provisions into your charter party that clearly allocate risks and liabilities - such as the INTERTANKO or BIMCO compliance clauses.