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Century, little legislation had been made to govern the sea carriage of goods, and that which had favoured the shipowner. As international sea transport grew so did exceptions in charter parties and bills of lading. So far as charter parties were concerned the exceptions were a matter of direct agreement between the charterer and the shipowner negotiating on equal terms. However, with bills of lading, complaints increased that carriers were, by contract, evading their obligations to most unfair extent. Shipowners defended the protection they gave themselves on the grounds that, once the vessel had sailed on the start of her voyage, she and the cargo were outside the personal control of the shipowner and they had to rely upon the master and crew, agents, stevedores. Shippers and consignees complained that, amongst other things, an unfair burden of proof was thrust upon them whenever they tried to establish the carrier's liability for loss or damage to goods while in transit. There had to be found some means of regulating the situation and providing a fair balance between the two sides. The largely international nature of trade required that any action taken would also have to be international. A meeting of the International Law Association was held at The Hague in 1921, with the object of agreeing rules relating to bills of lading. So the Hague Rules came into being and were adopted by various maritime nations and given the force of law by statute. In Great Britain and Northern Ireland effect was given by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1924. With the advent of containerisation and the other new systems of carriage, and the change in the value of money, the Hague rules needed amending. This was done by Protocol, signed at Brussels in 1968; the amended Rules being called the Hague-Visby Rules. The U.K. gave effect to the new rules by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1971. This act was brought into force in 1977, and repealed the Act of 1924. However, the Hague Rules continue to apply in countries which have not enacted the Hague-Visby Rules.
The Act Applies to: • Any contract, for the carriage of goods by sea in ships from a U.K. port, which provides for the issue of a bill of lading or similar document of title; • any bill of lading, if the contract in or evidenced by it expressly provides that the amended Hague Rules shall govern the contract; • any non-negotiable receipt, marked as such, if it expressly provides that the Rules are to govern the contract as though it were a bill of lading. Where a bill of lading expressly provides that the Hague -Visby Rules apply to the carriage of livestock and deck cargo, or a non-negotiable receipt provides the Rules are to apply to the contract, as though it were a bill of lading, the Act applies even though the cargo consists of livestock or deck cargo. Where the Act applies, the absolute warranty of seaworthiness, implied in contracts for the carriage of goods by sea, is abolished. Instead the carrier must exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy. ART.II. The Rules. Under every contract of carriage of goods by sea, the carrier, in relation to cargo operations, is subject to the responsibilities and liabilities and entitled to the rights and immunities contained in the Rules. ART.III. Responsibilities and Liabilities. 1 The carrier is bound, before and at the beginning of the voyage, to exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy; properly man, equip and supply the ship; and make the cargo spaces fit and safe for the reception of cargo, its carriage and preservation. Case 1 2 The carrier is to properly and carefully load, handle, stow, carry, keep care for and discharge the goods carried. Case 2
3. After receiving the goods, the carrier or his agent or the master is to supply the shipper with a bill of lading. The bill is to show, among other things, (a). identifying marks; (b). number of packages or pieces, or quantity or weight, as furnished, in writing, by the shipper; (c). the apparent order and condition of the goods.
partial or general.The master. p. wastage in bulk or weight.] 6. covenant or agreement in a contract of carriage. On the demand of the shipper. Case 5 n. 0. nor can he do so if the vessel has made an unjustified deviation. is not an infringement or breach of the Rules or the contract. ART. fault or neglect of the shipper. a " received for shipment" bill of lading may be converted to a " shipped" bill by noting on it the name of the ship and the date of shipment. relieving the carrier/ship from liability for loss or damage arising from negligence. d. In any event. 7. 8. but the burden of proof lies with the person claiming the benefit. The maximum liability of the carrier/ship for any loss or damage to goods is 666. or other loss or damage due to inherent defect or vice of the goods. insufficiency or inadequacy of marks. Unless the receiver gives written notice of loss or damage before. The bill of lading is prima facie evidence of the receipt by the carrier of the goods described. 5. or lessening of liability. or any reasonable deviation. is null and void and of no effect. or. strikes or lockouts. and that is the cause of the damage. h quarantine restrictions. otherwise the container or pallet is considered the package or unit. and the carrier is not liable for any loss or damage caused. In the case of actual loss or damage. or which he has no reasonable means of checking. rulers or people. act of war. unless due to the act. 4. The unit of account is the special drawing right defined by the International Monetary Fund. 5. Where goods are stowed in a container or on a pallet. Notice need not be given if the goods have been subject to joint survey on receipt. Case 8 3. can refuse to include marks if they will not ordinarily remain legible until the end of the voyage.. . act of God. Case 6 q. unless the nature and value of the goods is inserted in the bill of lading. pilot or carrier's servants in the navigation of the ship. Alternatively. insufficient packing. k. C. 4.67 units of account per package or unit. The carrier has the burden of proving he exercised due diligence. a "shipped " bill of lading must be issued after loading the goods. or stoppages or restraint of labour. Any deviation to save life or property at sea. act. fault or failure in duties and obligations. Any clause. lost or damaged. The amount recoverable is based upon the value of the goods at the time of discharge or when they would have been discharged. Case 4 i. if the loss or damage is not apparent. if the carrier settles a claim on the inaccuracies. or agent.IV. Case 7 The shipowner cannot rely upon the "excepted perils" if he has not exercised due diligence to make the ship seaworthy. the number of packages or units shown in the bill of lading is to determine the liability of the carrier. the carrier and receiver are to give reasonable facility of inspection and tallying to each other. Action for indemnity against a third person may be brought after the lapse of one year if it is brought within the time limit allowed by the court hearing the action. 2. latent defects not discovered by due diligence. &c. and the shipper is required to indemnify the carrier against all loss or damage and expenses which arise as a result of the inaccuracies. unless caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier. otherwise than provided in the Rules. and need not show information which he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be inaccurate. the removal of the goods. saving or attempting to save life or property at sea. l. 1 Neither the carrier nor the ship is liable for loss or damage arising or resulting from unseaworthiness. perils. g. f act of public enemies. j. m. fire. within three days. he has a right of action against the shipper. e. his agents or servants. act or omission of the shipper/owner of the goods. arrest or restraint of princes. riot and civil commotions. whichever is higher.values are published daily in the Financial Times. mariner. Case 3 b. the removal is prima facie evidence of delivery. or at the time of. at the carrier's option. or 2 units of account per kilo of gross weight of goods. or seizure under legal process. the carrier and ship is discharged from all liability in respect of loss or damage unless suit is brought within one year of delivery or when the goods should have been delivered. The shipper is deemed to have guaranteed the accuracy of the information given to the carrier. neglect or default of the master. Neither the carrier nor the ship is responsible for loss or damage arising from a. any other cause without actual fault or privity of the carrier. unless caused by want of due diligence on the part of the carrier. dangers and accidents of the sea. their agents or servants. The shipper is not responsible for loss or damage sustained by the carrier/ship. Rights and Immunities. but. [The carrier remains liable to a third person.
if any. the carriage is from a port in a in a contracting State. The Rules do not apply to charter parties. if a).The carrier is not entitled to limit liability if it is proved the damage resulted from his act or omission. or to carry cargoes in a special manner. or b). become dangerous to the ship and cargo. the consignee.V. The Rules do not prevent the principals from entering into an agreement related to responsibility and liability of the carrier/ship for loss or damage caused to the goods prior to loading and after discharge. Nothing in the Rules prevents the insertion in a bill of lading any lawful provision regarding general average. except to general average. ART. Limitations on the Application of the Rules. whatever may be the nationality of the ship. the bill is issued in a contracting State. ART. A carrier may surrender. the contract contained in or evidenced by the bill provides that the Rules. or recklessly. This does not apply to ordinary commercial shipments made in the ordinary course of trade. If an action is brought against a carrier's servants or agent. the shipper. may. no bill of lading is issued.VI. ART. in respect of loss or damage.IX. ART. Limitation of Liability. all or any of his rights and immunities. unless it is proved the loss or damage resulted from his act or omission. but if bills of lading are issued under a charter party they are to comply with the Rules. are to govern the contract. The Rules do not affect the provisions of an international Convention or national law governing liability for nuclear damage. or recklessly and with knowledge that damage would result. explosive or dangerous nature. without compensation. done with intent to cause damage. 6. the carrier. he is entitled to avail himself or the defences and liability limits of the Rules. A carrier/master and a shipper can enter into a special agreement with regard to particular goods. Such an agreement is to have full legal effect. Surrender of Rights and Immunities and increases of Responsibilities and Liabilities. done with intent to cause damage. whether the action is founded in contract or tort. The defences and liability limits apply in any action against the carrier. but only to the shipment of goods justifying a special agreement. or increase his responsibilities and liabilities under the Rules. be landed or destroyed or rendered innocuous. to whose shipment the carrier/master has not consented.X. and the terms agreed are contained in a clearly marked. non-negotiable receipt. at any time before discharge. in whole or in part.VIII. provided the terms are not contrary to public policy. provided the surrender or increase is contained in the bill of lading issued to the shipper. The Rules are not to affect the rights and obligations of the carrier under the statute relating to a shipowner's right to limit his liability. Goods of an inflamable. the goods are properly handled. c). and special conditions no longer apply. ART. by way of experiment. Once the trade has gone beyond the experimental stage the cargo concerned will come into the category of an ordinary commercial shipment. If such goods. From time to time it becomes necessary to carry special cargoes. and the shipper is liable for all damages and expenses. The Rules apply to every bill of lading relating to the carriage of goods between ports in two different States. Liability for nuclear damage.VII. or legislation of any State giving effect to them. or any other interested person.IV bis. they may be similarly dealt with without liability. shipped with the consent and knowledge of their nature. ART.B. N. . Special Conditions. ART.
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