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CENTRAL SHIPPING COMPANY, INC., petitioner, vs.

INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH


AMERICA, respondent.

DOCTRINE: Doctrine of Limited liability

FACTS

Central Shipping Co. received on board its vessel, the M/V


'Central Bohol', 376 pieces [of] Philippine Apitong Round Logs
and undertook to transport said shipment to Manila for delivery
to Alaska Lumber Co., Inc.

Upon completion of loading of the cargo, the vessel left


Palawan and commenced the voyage to Manila.

While enroute to Manila, the vessel listed about 10 degrees


starboardside, due to the shifting of logs in the hold. After the
listing of the vessel had increased to 15 degrees, the ship
captain ordered his men to abandon ship and later that day the
vessel completely sank. Due to the sinking of the vessel, the
cargo was totally lost.

Respondent alleged that the total loss of the shipment was


caused by the fault and negligence of the Central Shipping and
its captain.

Central Shipping, while admitting the sinking of the vessel,


interposed the defense that the vessel was fully manned, fully
equipped and in all respects seaworthy; that all the logs were
properly loaded and secured; that the vessel's master
exercised due diligence to prevent or minimize the loss before,
during and after the occurrence of the storm, and that the loss
was due to a natural disaster.

ISSUE (1) Should the common carrier be exempted from


liability for the loss of the cargo due to a natural disaster?

Held. No.
What was encountered was a monsoon and not a storm.

No typhoon was observed within the Philippine area of responsibility


during that period.

According to PAGASA, a storm has a wind force of 48 to 55


knots, 24 equivalent to 55 to 63 miles per hour or 10 to 11 in the
Beaufort Scale. The second mate of the vessel stated that the
wind was blowing around force 7 to 8 on the Beaufort
Scale. Consequently, the strong winds accompanying the
southwestern monsoon could not be classified as a "storm." Such
winds are the ordinary vicissitudes of a sea voyage.

ISSUE (2) IS THE DOCTRINE OF LIMITED LIABILITY


APPLICABLE?

HELD. NO.

The doctrine of limited liability under Article 587 of the Code of


Commerce 36 is not applicable to the present case. This rule does not
apply to situations in which the loss or the injury is due to the concurrent
negligence of the shipowner and the captain. 37 It has already been
established that the sinking of M/V Central Bohol had been caused by
the fault or negligence of the ship captain and the crew, as shown by the
improper stowage of the cargo of logs. "Closer supervision on the part
of the shipowner could have prevented this fatal miscalculation." 38 As
such, the shipowner was equally negligent. It cannot escape liability by
virtue of the limited liability rule.

THE PHILIPPINE AMERICAN GENERAL INSURANCE


COMPANY, INC., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS
and FELMAN SHIPPING LINES, respondents.
DOCTRINE: VESSELS' PROXIMATE CAUSE OF SINKING WAS
ITS BEING TOP-HEAVY; ART. 587 ON ABANDONMENT OF
VESSEL IS NOT APPLICABLE

FACTS:

On 6 July 1983 Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., loaded on board


"MV Asilda," a vessel owned and operated by respondent Felman
Shipping Lines, 7,500 cases of 1-liter Coca-Cola softdrink bottles to be
transported from Zamboanga City to Cebu City for consignee Coca-
Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., Cebu, insured with petitioner Philippine
American General Insurance Co., Inc.

"MV Asilda" left the port of Zamboanga in fine weather, the following
morning, the vessel sank in the waters of Zamboanga del Norte bringing
down her entire cargo with her including the subject 7,500 cases of 1-
liter Coca-Cola softdrink bottles.

On 15 July 1983 the consignee Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc.,


Cebu plant, filed a claim with respondent FELMAN for recovery of
damages it sustained as a result of the loss of its softdrink bottles that
sank with "MV Asilda." Respondent denied the claim, alleging that
FELMAN had abandoned all its rights, interests and ownership over
"MV Asilda" together with her freight and appurtenances for the purpose
of limiting and extinguishing its liability under Art. 587 of the Code of
Commerce.

ISSUE (1) whether "MV Asilda" was seaworthy when it left the
port of Zamboanga;

HELD. NO.

The proximate cause of the sinking of "MV Asilda" was its being top-
heavy. Contrary to the ship captain's allegations, evidence shows that
approximately 2,500 cases of softdrink bottles were stowed on deck.
Several days after "MV Asilda" sank, an estimated 2,500 empty Coca-
Cola plastic cases were recovered near the vicinity of the sinking.
Considering that the ship's hatches were properly secured, the empty
Coca-Cola cases recovered could have come only from the vessel's
deck cargo. It is settled that carrying a deck cargo raises the
presumption of unseaworthiness unless it can be shown that the deck
cargo will not interfere with the proper management of the ship.
However, in this case it was established that "MV Asilda" was not
designed to carry substantial amount of cargo on deck. The inordinate
loading of cargo deck resulted in the decrease of the vessel's
metacentric height 7 thus making it unstable. The strong winds and
waves encountered by the vessel are but the ordinary vicissitudes of a
sea voyage and as such merely contributed to its already unstable and
unseaworthy condition.

ISSUE (2) whether the limited liability under Art. 587 of the Code
of Commerce should apply?

HELD. No.

Art. 587 of the Code of Commerce is not applicable to the case at


bar. 8 Simply put, the ship agent is liable for the negligent acts of the
captain in the care of goods loaded on the vessel. This liability however
can be limited through abandonment of the vessel, its equipment and
freightage as provided in Art. 587. Nonetheless, there are exceptional
circumstances wherein the ship agent could still be held answerable
despite the abandonment, as where the loss or injury was due to the
fault of the shipowner and the captain. 9 The international rule is to the
effect that the right of abandonment of vessels, as a legal limitation of a
shipowner's liability, does not apply to cases where the injury or average
was occasioned by the shipowner's own fault. 10 It must be stressed at
this point that Art. 587 speaks only of situations where the fault or
negligence is committed solely by the captain. Where the shipowner is
likewise to be blamed, Art. 587 will not apply, and such situation will be
covered by the provisions of the Civil Code on common carrier. 11

It was already established at the outset that the sinking of "MV Asilda"
was due to its unseaworthiness even at the time of its departure from
the port of Zamboanga. It was top-heavy as an excessive amount of
cargo was loaded on deck. Closer supervision on the part of the
shipowner could have prevented this fatal miscalculation. As such,
FELMAN was equally negligent. It cannot therefore escape liability
through the expedient of filing a notice of abandonment of the vessel by
virtue of Art. 587 of the Code of Commerce.

FAUSTO FUBISO and BONIFACIO GELITO, vs.


FLORENTINO E. RIVERA,

DOCTRINE: The requisite of registration in the registry of the


purchase of a vessel is necessary and indispensable in orderer
that the purchaser's rights may be maintained against a claim
filed by a third person

FACTS

Plaintiffs Fausto Fubiso and Bonifacio Gelito alleged in their


complaint that his clients were the owners of the pilot boat
named Valentina, which had been in bad condition since the year
1914 and, on the date of the complaint, was stranded in the place
called Tingloy, of the municipality of Bauan, Batangas; that the
defendant Florentino E. Rivera took charge or possession of said
vessel without the knowledge or consent of the plaintiffs and refused
to deliver it to them, under claim that he was the owner thereof;
Defendant entered a general and specific denial of all the facts
set forth in the complaint, with the exception of those admitted in the
special defense and consisting in that said pilot boat belonged to the
concern named "Gelito & Co.," Bonifacio Gilito being a copartner
thereof to the extent of two-thirds, and the Chinaman Sy Qui, to that
of one-third, of the value of said vessel; that subsequently Bonifacio
Gelito sold his share to his copartner Sy Qui, as attested by the
instrument Exhibit A, registered in the office of the Collector of
Customs and made a part of his answer; that later said Chinaman,
the absolutely owner of the vessel, sold it in turn to the defendant
Rivera, according to the public instrument; and that, for this reason,
Rivera took possession of the said pilot boat Valentina, as its sole
owner.

Defendant Rivera acquired by purchase the pilot boat


Valentina on behalf of the plaintiff Rubiso; but the sale of the vessel
by Sy Qui to Florentino E. Rivera, on January 4, 1915, was entered
in the customs registry only on March 17, 1915, while its sale is
public auction to Fausto Rubiso on the 23d of January of the same
year, 1915, was recorded in the office of the Collector of Customs on
the 27th of the same month, and in the commercial registry on the
4th of March, following; that is, the sale on behalf of the defendant
Rivera was prior to that made at public auction to Rubiso, but the
registration of this latter sale was prior by may days to the sale made
to the defendant.

ISSUE: Who has the better right to the vessel? The first to have
bought the vessel or the first to register?

HELD. The first to register, Rubiso.

Article 573 of the Code of Commerce provides, in its first


paragraph:
"Merchant vessels constitute property which may be
acquired an transferred by any of the means recognized by
law. The acquisition of a vessel must be included in a written
instrument, which shall not produce any effect with regard to
third persons if not recorded in the commercial registry."
So that, pursuant to the above-quoted article,
inscription in the commercial registry was indispensable ,
in order that said acquisition might affect, and produce
consequences with respect to third persons.
The requisite of registration on the registry, of the purchase of
a vessel, is necessary and indispensable in order that the
purchaser's rights may be maintained against a claim filed by a third
person. Such registration is required both by the Code of Commerce
and by Act No. 1900. The amendment solely consisted in charging
the Insular Collector of Customs, as at present, with the fulfillment of
the duties of the commercial register concerning the registering of
vessels; so that the registration of a bill of sale of a vessel shall be
made in the office of the Insular Collector of Customs, who, since
May 18, 1909, has been performing the duties of the commercial
register in place of this latter official.
In view of said legal provisions, it is undeniable that the
defendant Florentino E. Rivera's rights cannot prevail over those
acquired by Fausto Rubiso in the ownership of the pilot boat
Valentina, inasmuch as, though the latter's acquisition of the vessel
at public auction, on January 23, 1915, was subsequent to its
purchase by the defendant Rivera, nevertheless said sale at public
auction was antecedently record in the office of the Collector of
Customs, on January 27, and entered in the commercial registry.
An unnecessary proceeding-on March 4th; while the private and
voluntary purchase made by Rivera on a prior date was not recorded
in the office of the Collector of Customs until many days afterwards,
that is, not until March 17, 1915.
The legal rule set down in the Mercantile Code subsists,
inasmuch as the amendment solely refers to the official who shall
make the entry; but, with respect to the rights of the two purchases,
whichever of them first registered his acquisition of the vessel in the
one entitled to enjoy the protection of the law, which considers him
the absolute owner of the purchased boat, an this latter to be free of
all encumbrance and all claims by strangers for, pursuant to article
582 of the said code, after the bill of the judicial sale at auction has
been executed and recorded in the commercial registry, all the other
liabilities of the vessel in favor of the creditors shall be considered
canceled.

The purchaser at public auction, Fausto Rubiso, who was


careful to record his acquisition, opportunely and on prior date, has,
according to the law, a better right than the defendant Rivera who
subsequently recorded his purchase. The latter is a third person,
who was directly affected by the registration which the plaintiff made
of the acquisition.
Ships or vessels, whether moved by steam or by sail, partake,
to a certain extent, of the nature and conditions of real property, on
account of their value and importance in the world commerce; and
for this reason the provisions of article 573 of the Code of Commerce
are nearly identical with article 1473 of the Civil Code.

NEGROS NAVIGATION CO., INC.,vs. COURT OF APPEALS,


SPECIAL TWELFTH DIVISION AND TSUNEISHI HEAVY
INDUSTRIES (CEBU), INC.,

DOCTRINE:There is no conflict between PD 1521 and PD 902-A.

FACTS:
NNC is a shipping company that is primarily engaged in the
business of transporting through shipping vessels, passengers and
cargoes at various ports of call in the country. 4 THI, on the other
hand, is engaged in the business of shipbuilding and repair. 5 NNC
engaged the services of THI for the repair of its vessels.
On February 9, 2004, THI filed a case for sum of money , based
on the unpaid services for the repair of NNC's vessels, otherwise
known as repairman's lien.
On March 5, 2004, the Cebu RTC issued an Order 6 granting the
issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment against the properties of
NNC. By virtue of the writ of preliminary attachment, Sheriff Rogelio T.
Pinar levied on one of the vessels of NNC, the M/V St. Peter the
Apostle.
On March 29, 2004, NNC filed a Petition for
Corporate Rehabilitation with Prayer for Suspension of
Payments 11 with the RTC of Manila (Manila RTC),
Branch 46, which was docketed as Special Proceeding
No. 0409532. The Manila RTC granted the NNC's
petition and issued a Stay Order
ISSUE: Does the stay orders issued impair the maritime liens
against the Vessels or the Admiralty Courts Jurisdiction over such
liens?

HELD No.

The Court agrees that PD 1521 is the governing law


concerning its maritime lien for the services it rendered to NNC.
However, when NNC filed a petition for corporate rehabilitation and
suspension of payments, and the Manila RTC found that the petition
was sufficient in form and in substance and appointed the
rehabilitation receiver, the admiralty proceeding was appropriately
suspended in accordance with Section 6 of the Interim Rules on
Corporate Rehabilitation. 35
Rehabilitation contemplates continuance of corporate life and
activities in an effort to restore and reinstate the corporation to its
former position of successful operation and solvency. 36 The purpose
of rehabilitation proceedings is precisely to enable the company to
gain a new lease on life and thereby allow creditors to be paid their
claims from its earnings. The rehabilitation of a financially distressed
corporation benefits its employees, creditors, stockholders and, in a
larger sense, the general public. 37
The governing law concerning rehabilitation and suspension of
actions for claims against corporations is PD 902-A, as
amended. Republic Act No. 8799 (RA 8799), otherwise known as
The Securities Regulation Code, amended Section 5 of PD 902-A,
thereby transferring to the Regional Trial Courts the jurisdiction of the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over cases, among
others, involving petitions of corporations, partnerships or
associations to be declared in the state of suspension of payments
where the corporation, partnership or association possesses
property to cover all its debts but foresees the impossibility of
meeting them when they respectively fall due, or where the
corporation, partnership or association has no sufficient assets to
cover its liabilities, but is under the management of a rehabilitation
receiver or a management committee. THADEI

The Court adopted the Interim Rules of Procedure on


Corporate Rehabilitation on December 15, 2000, and these rules
apply to petitions for rehabilitation filed by corporations, partnerships,
and associations pursuant to PD 902-A.
PD 902-A 38 mandates that upon appointment of a
management committee, rehabilitation receiver, board or body, all
actions for claims against corporations, partnerships or associations
under management or receivership pending before any court,
tribunal, board or body shall be suspended. PD 902-A does not
make any distinction as to what claims are covered by the
suspension of actions for claims against corporations under
rehabilitation. No exception is made therein in favor of maritime
claims. Thus, since the law does not make any exemptions or
distinctions, neither should we. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos
distinguere debemos.
The justification for the suspension of actions or claims,
without distinction, pending rehabilitation proceedings is to enable
the management committee or rehabilitation receiver to effectively
exercise its/his powers free from any judicial or extra-judicial
interference that might unduly hinder or prevent the "rescue" of the
debtor company. To allow such other actions to continue would only
add to the burden of the management committee or rehabilitation
receiver, whose time, effort and resources would be wasted in
defending claims against the corporation instead of being directed
toward its restructuring and rehabilitation. 39
It is undisputed that THI holds a preferred maritime lien over
NNC's assets by virtue of THI's unpaid services. The issuance of the
stay order by the rehabilitation court does not impair or in any way
diminish THI's preferred status as a creditor of NNC. The
enforcement of its claim through court action was merely suspended
to give way to the speedy and effective rehabilitation of the
distressed shipping company. Upon termination of the rehabilitation
proceedings or in the event of the bankruptcy and consequent
dissolution of the company, THI can still enforce its preferred claim
upon NNC.
PD 902-A was designed not only to salvage an ailing
corporation but also to protect the interest of investors, creditors and
the general public. Section 6 (d) of PD 902-A provides: "the
management committee or rehabilitation receiver, board or body
shall have the power to take custody of, and control over, all the
existing assets and property of such entities under management; to
evaluate the existing assets and liabilities, earnings and operations
of such corporations, partnerships or other associations; to
determine the best way to salvage and protect the interest of the
investors and creditors; to study, review and evaluate the feasibility of
continuing operations and restructure and rehabilitate such entities if
determined to be feasible by the [court]. It shall report and be
responsible to the [court] until dissolved by order of the [court]:
Provided, however, That the [court] may, on the basis of the findings
and recommendation of the management committee, or rehabilitation
receiver, board or body, or on its own findings, determine that the
continuance in business of such corporation or entity would not be
feasible or profitable nor work to the best interest of the stockholders,
parties-litigants, creditors, or the general public, order the dissolution
of such corporation entity and its remaining assets liquidated
accordingly. The management committee or rehabilitation receiver,
board or body may overrule or revoke the actions of the previous
management and board of directors of the entity or entities under
management notwithstanding any provision of law, articles of
incorporation or by-laws to the contrary."

VICENTE VERZOSA and RUIZ, REMENTERIA CIA., S. in


C., vs. SILVINO LIM and SIY CONG BIENG & COMPANY, INC.,

DOCTRINES: LIABILITY OF OWNER AND OPERATING


COMPANY. Where a collision occurs between two seagoing
vessels, caused exclusively by the carelessness of the navigating
officers in charge of one of the vessels, both the owner and the
operating company (casa naviera) directly in charge of the offending
vessel are liable for the damage done.
OBLIGATIONS; APPORTIONABILITY OF OBLIGATION;
JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY OF TORTFEASORS. The rule
that joint obligations are apportionable unless otherwise specially
provided has no application to obligations arising from tort (ex
delicto). Persons who cooperate in the tortious infliction of damage
are jointly and severally liable.

FACTS

Vicente Verzosa and Ruiz, Rementeria y Compania, as owners of


the coastwise vessel Perla, filed a complaint against Silvino Lim and
Siy Cong Bieng & Company, Inc., as owner and agent, respectively, of
the vessel Ban Yek, for the purpose of recovering a sum of money
alleged to be the damages from a collision which occurred on March 9,
1921, between the two vessels mentioned, it being alleged that said
collision was due to the inexperience, carelessness and lack of skill on
the part of the captain of the Ban Yek and to his failure to observe the
rules of navigation appropriate to the case. T
Fault is to be attributed exclusively to the negligence and inattention of
the captain and pilot in charge of the Ban Yek. The Perla undoubtedly
had the right of way, since this vessel was navigating with the current,
and the officers in charge of the Perla were correct in assuming, from
the failure of the Ban Yek to respond to the single blast of the Perla,
that the officers in charge of the Ban Yek recognized that the Perla had
a right of way and acquiesced in her resolution to keep to the right.

ISSUE: Who is liable for the damages to PERLA caused by BAN


YEK? The owner or the charterer of Ban Yek at the time of the
collision?
HELD. Both.
Silvino Lim is impleaded as owner; and Siy Cong Bieng & Co.
is impleaded as the shipping agent (casa naviera), or person in
responsible control of the Ban Yek at the time of the accident.
We note that in article 826 of the Code of Commerce it is
declared that the owner of any vessel shall be liable for the indemnity
due to any other vessel injured by the fault, negligence, or lack of
skill of the captain of the first. We say "owner," which is the word
used in the current translation of this article in the Spanish Code of
Commerce. It is to be observed, however, that the Spanish text itself
uses the word naviero; and there is some ambiguity in the use of
said word in this article, owing to the fact that naviero in Spanish has
several meanings. The author of the article which appears under the
word naviero in the Enciclopedia Juridica Espaola tells us that in
Spanish it may mean either owner, outfitter, charterer, or agent,
though he says that the fundamental and correct meaning of the
word is that of "owner." That naviero, as used in the Spanish text of
article 826, means owner is further to be inferred from article 837,
which limits the civil liability expressed in article 826 to the value of
the vessel with all her appurtenances and all the freight earned
during the voyage. There would have been no propriety in limiting
liability to the value of the vessel unless the owner were understood
to be the person liable. It is therefore clear that by special provision
of the Code of Commerce the owner is made responsible for the
damage caused by an accident of the kind under consideration in
this case; and in more than one case this court has held the owner
liable, when sued alone (Philippine Shipping Co. vs. Garcia Vegara,
6 Phil., 281; G. Urrutia & Co. vs. Baco river Plantation Co., 26 Phil.,
632).
But while it is thus demonstrated that Silvino Lim is liable for
these damages in the character of owner, it does not necessarily
follow that Siy Cong Bieng & Co., as charterer or agent (casa
naviera), is exempt from liability; and we are of the opinion that both
the owner and agent can be held responsible where both are
impleaded together. In Philippine Shipping Co. vs. Garcia Vergara (6
Phil., 281), it seems to have been accepted as a matter of course
that both owner and agent of the offending vessel are liable for the
damage done; and this must, we think, be true. The liability of
the naviero, in the sense of charterer or agent, if not expressed in
article 826 of the Code of Commerce, is clearly deducible from the
general doctrine of jurisprudence stated in article 1902 of the Civil
Code, and it is also recognized, but more especially as regards
contractual obligations, in article 586 of the Code of Commerce.
Moreover, we are of the opinion that both the owner and agent
(naviero) should be declared to be jointly and severally liable, since
the obligation which is the subject of this action had its origin in a
tortious act and did not arise from contract. Article 1137 of the Civil
Code, declaring that joint obligations shall be apportionable unless
otherwise provided, has no application to obligations arising from
tort.

YU BIAO SONTUA & CO.,, vs. MIGUEL J. OSSORIO


DOCTRINE: INHERENT DUTIES OF THE MASTER OF A SHIP; LIABILITY OF THE
SHIP AGENT TOWARDS THIRD PERSONS. Although the duties enumerated in
article 612 of the Code of Commerce are inherent in the master, the civil
liability arising from the nonfulfillment thereof is not limited to the latter,
since while the master is responsible to the ship agent, he is, in turn, liable
to third persons, as is clearly provided in article 618 of the said Code, which
in its subsections 5 and 7 expressly mentions such duties enumerated in the
aforesaid article 612.

Facts

March 13, 1920, A fire broke out on the motor boat Alfonso while in Pasig
River, ready to weigh anchor. The fire spread to the steamer Y. Sontua which
was moored to the wharf and was close to Alfonso.

It was proved that there were loaded in the said motor


boat Alfonso 2,000 cases of petroleum and 8,473 cases of gasoline, of
which 5,000 cases of gasoline and 2,000 of petroleum were placed in
the hold of said motor boat, and the balance on deck; that said loading
was done without permission from the customs authorities; that the
said cases were loaded by means of straps supporting 10 or 12 cases
at a time; that the said cases of gasoline and petroleum were placed in
the hold about 14 feet from the boiler of the main engine and about 4
feet from the boiler of the smaller engine; that on the evening of the
13th of March, 1920, the smaller engine was in operation preparatory
to the departure of the motor boat which, at that time, was getting
ready to leave; that the fire in said motor boat burst out with an
explosion followed by a violent expulsion of gasoline and petroleum;
that owing to the proximity of the motor boat to the steamer Y. Sontua,
the magnitude of the fire and the inflammability of the material that
served as fuel, the fire spread to the said steamer Y. Sontua, and so
rapidly that it was impossible for the crew of the Y. Sontua to check its
progress.
Expert testimony was also introduced by the plaintiff to the
effect that it is but natural that, after several transhipments of more
than 8,000 cases of gasoline and 2,000 cases of petroleum there is
bound to be a leakage, on an average of 1 to 4 cases per hundred,
due to the fact that the loading is effected by means of straps
supporting from 10 to 12 cases at a time which, quite frequently,
receive violent bumps resulting in damage to the cans and the
consequent leakage of either gasoline or petroleum, as the case may
be.
It was also shown by expert testimony that the gases formed
by the volatilization of the gasoline or petroleum leaking from the
cases are apt to accumulate in a compartment, such as the hold of a
ship, without sufficient ventilation causing the gases to ignite upon
coming in contact with a spark or upon the temperature being
sufficiently raised.
Appellant holds that he should not be eld liable for the negligence of
his employees.
ISSUE: SHOULD THE SHIP OWNER BE HELD LIABLE FOR NEGLIGENCE OF HIS
AGENTS AND EMPLOYEES?

HELD. YES.

It is proven that the agents and employees, through whose


negligence the explosion and fire in question occurred, were agents,
employees, and mandatories of the defendant. Where the vessel is
one of freight, a public concern on public utility, its owner or agent is
liable for the tortuous acts of his agents (arts. 587, 613, and 618,
Code of Commerce; and arts. 1902, 1903, 1908, Civil Code). This
principle has been repeatedly upheld in various decisions of this
court.
The doctrines cited by the appellant in support of his theory
have reference to the relations between principal and agent in
general, but not to the relations between ship agent and his agents
and employees; for this reason they cannot be applied in the present
case.
In American law, principles similar to those in force in the
Philippines and contained in the Code of Commerce above cited, are
prevailing:
"Vessel owner's liability in general. The general liability of a
vessel owner extends to losses by fire arising from another vessel, or
from the shore; and the fact that fire produces the motive power of a
boat does not affect the case. Such losses are not within the
exceptions either of act of God, or peril of the sea, except by local
custom, unless proximately caused by one of these events. In
jurisdictions where the civil law obtains, however, it has been held
that if property on a steamboat is destroyed by fire, the owners of the
boat are not responsible, if it was being navigated with proper
diligence, although the accident occurred at night. The common law
liability extends even to loss by fires caused entirely by spontaneous
combustion of the cargo, without any negligence on the part of
master or crew." (R.C.L. vol. 24, pp. 1324-1325.)
With regard to the allegation that the obligations enumerated in
article 612 of our Code of Commerce are inherent in the master such
inherent duties do not limit to the latter the civil liability arising from
their nonfulfillment, but while the master is responsible to the ship
agent, the ship agent, in turn, is responsible to third persons, as is
clearly provided in article 618 of said Code, in which express
mention is made, in subsections 5 and 7, of the duties enumerated in
the said article 612.
Therefore there is also no ground for holding that the second
error assigned by the appellant has been committed.
The third error is concerned with the amount of the damages
sustained by the plaintiff.
It is sufficiently proven that the sum paid by the plaintiff to the
Earnshaw Shipyards for the repairs made to the steamer Y. Sontua,
damage to which was caused by the fire in question, amount to
P27,968; that the materials used in said repairs and paid for by the
plaintiff are worth P12,139.30. As to the damages sustained by the
plaintiff on account of the delay of the steamer Y. Sontua, the
evidence shows that this steamer was delayed ten days in the Pasig
River, waiting for available space in the shipyard before it was taken
to the said repair-shop; that it was not absolutely necessary that the
repair of the damages caused by the fire should be made in the
shipyard; that said vessel was taken to the shipyard for the repair of
some parts of it not damaged by the fire in question.

As the evidence does not sufficiently show the time consumed


in repairing the actual damage caused by the said fire, nor the time
employed in making the other repairs, and as the damage, if any,
resulting from the ten days' delay in the Pasig River, is remote and,
therefore, not chargeable to the defendant since said delay is in no
way imputable to him, we think, in view of all of the circumstances of
the case and taking into consideration the importance of all the
repairs, whether by fire or otherwise, the delay of seventy days,
according to the evidence of the plaintiff, chargeable to the
defendant, should be reduced to one-half, or thirty-five days at the
rate of P410.84 a day which is the net profit that the aforesaid
steamer Y. Sontua failed to realize as a consequence of said delay.
We find that the damages sustained by the plaintiff by reason of this
delay amount to P14,379.40.
The plaintiff further asks that he be awarded, by way of
damages, the sum of P4,400 covering maintenance and salary of the
officers and crew of his steamer during the delay aforementioned.
We do not feel that he is entitled to this item for the reason that such
expenses have already been taken into account in determining the
net daily profit above referred to. We do not feel that he is entitled to
this item for the reason that such expenses have already been taken
into account in determining the net daily profit above referred to. We
find that the total sum which the plaintiff is entitled to recover from the
defendant as damages under the facts stated is fifty-four thousand
four hundred eighty-six pesos and seventy centavos (54,486.70).
The judgment appealed from is hereby modified and the
defendant sentenced to pay the plaintiff the sum of P54,486.70 with
cost. So ordered.