Article

If the shipowner has provided a properly qualified crew of an appropriate size at the commencement of the voyage he has fulfilled his obligation even if their subsequent incompetence causes problems to arise. Article III Rule 2. Requires the carrier to look after the cargo properly (and draws attention to Article IV – the exceptions) this is a continuous obligation. Article III Rules 3 & 4. Set out the requirement to issue a bill of lading showing the quantity and apparent condition of the goods as well as the manner in which they can be easily identified. Article III Rule 5 Introduces obligations upon the shipper to guarantee the accuracy of the cargo details provided.  This obligation was tested in the 1970s when some forwarding agents were successfully prosecuted for fraud.  Their method of enhancing their income was to charge their principals the correct freight based upon the dimensions of the cargo but to declare much smaller dimensions to the shipowners (the crime was referred to as “cube-cutting”).  They reckoned on the fact that shipowners seldom bothered to check measurements but they were found out and their obligation to guarantee correct information left them with no viable defence. Article III Rule 6. This Rule covers the vital time-bar and it states that any loss or damage has to be notified within three days of taking delivery of the goods. It then goes on to stipulate that the “ship will be discharged from all liability unless suit is brought within one year”.  The expression “suit is brought” goes beyond simply making the claim in writing, court action has to be initiated.  The Rule does, of course, provide for the parties to extend the time limit by mutual agreement.