Dangerous Cargo

It is deemed under the Rules that the total amount recoverable in respect of any claim is to be calculated by reference to the value of the goods at the time and place at which the goods are discharged from the vessel. When deciding, in situations where the method of consolidating cargo is by container, pallet or other similar article of transport, whether the limitation of liability is to be based on “per package” or “unit” or indeed on “weight”, this is to be decided by referring to the bill of lading itself. If the packages or units are actually enumerated in the bill of lading as being packed inside the container, then the “unit” basis of limitation will be adopted, otherwise the container itself will be the basis of limitation. The provisions of the Hague-Visby Rules relative to the carriage of dangerous cargo are very much similar to the conditions contained in the “Merchant Shipping Act, 1984”. If any dangerous cargo is shipped on board a vessel without the knowledge or consent of the master or the carrier then the Act would allow the carrier to take appropriate action to have the cargo landed or indeed destroyed at the shippers’ expense should any loss or damage be sustained to those goods. Similarly if, during the course of a voyage, dangerous cargo becomes a danger to the ship and the crew, even in circumstances where the cargo has been shipped on board in a proper and legal fashion, then the master of the vessel is entitled to take action to destroy or dispose of such cargo as he deems fit and the carrier shall not incur any liability whatsoever other than an obligation to contribute in General Average, if any.