Carriage of Goods

It is important that in the preparation of a bill of lading, a shipper furnishes full particulars of cargo to be shipped, by ensuring that all details noted thereon are accurate. The shipper must fulfil an obligation by which he will indemnify the carrier in the event that there is any loss or damage arising from any inaccuracy in the particulars provided by him. This especially applies to dangerous cargo. To ensure that the shipper is liable, the carrier must show that, in the event of subsequent loss or damage, this loss or damage was indeed caused through the actual fault or neglect of the shipper, or his servants. A shipowner has certain obligations also towards the cargo prior to loading it on board the vessel, and also following its discharge from the vessel. However, the Act leaves the shipowner free to contract on any agreed terms in respect of the transit of the goods prior to loading and subsequent to discharge. It is only for the actual period of the voyage itself that the “Hague-Visby Rules” will apply. The “Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, 1971” states expressly that the parties to the Contract are free to make any reasonable arrangements with regard to the application of General Average, normally stated in charterparties, for example, as “General Average to be adjusted in London in accordance with the York-Antwerp Rules, 1990”. In effect, the Rules have no application to General Average. In every contract it is implied that a vessel shall proceed on her voyage without departure from her proper course as described in the contract, and, if she does, she will, in effect, deviate from contractual terms unless such deviation is fully justifiable. Under Common Law, deviation from a contracted voyage will only be allowed when saving or attempting to save human life.