Hague Rules Incorporation
Whenever the Hague Rules are incorporated into a charterparty, given that the rules are designed to be applied into Contracts of Carriage under bills of lading, the potential for conflict with the charterparty terms arises.
Generally, the court will seek to give effect to the intentions of the parties as set out in the terms of the contract. To this extent the courts do not apply the words of the Hague Rules as though incorporated into the charterparty verbatim but instead treat the rules as ‘a wish by the parties to incorporate into their contractual relations between owners and charterers the same standard of obligation, liability, right and immunities under the rules as subsist between the carrier and shipper.’
‘The Adamastos’ 1959. The courts will also consider the roles and responsibilities of the parties under the charterparty. So, in circumstances where the charterer is obliged by the terms of the charterparty to load cargo, the owners’ responsibility, which would otherwise apply under the rules, will not be extended to the loading and storage of cargo.
Wherever there is apparent inconsistency the courts will, if possible, attempt to construe contractual terms so as to give them all some effect, even if that means giving some terms less effect than may have been contemplated by the parties.
So, the time limit in Article 3 Rule 6 of the Hague Rules only bars claims arising out of or relating to loss of or damage to goods and would not bar other types of claims arising under a charterparty, which are not ‘in respect of goods’ and for which there may be a different time limit incorporated by the charterparty or its applicable governing law.