Implication of Hague Rules

Implication of Hague Rules

Implication of Hague Rules Article III, Rule 1:

This section removes from the owner the absolute obligation to provide a vessel that  is seaworthy and replaces it with one whereby the owner is required to exercise due diligence, that is to say to act reasonably, to ensure that the vessel is seaworthy and cargoworthy for the particular voyage and the particular cargo to be carried.

Implication of Hague Rules Article III, Rule 2:

Generally, this provision is interpreted to mean that the owner will arrange for the stowage and securing of the cargo on board his vessel in accordance with a sound system applied in accordance with the state of knowledge that the owner or a reasonably prudent owner would have of his vessel and the cargo to be carried.

In effect, the owner needs to exercise due diligence. However, the owner only need do that which he has agreed to do in accordance with the terms of the contract. So, if by the terms of the charterparty the stowage obligations rest upon the charterer then the obligation with regard to loading and stowing cargo remains with the charterer and is not transferred to the owner.

Clearly, in these circumstances the owner need take no steps in relation to the stowage of the cargo other than to ensure the seaworthiness of his vessel. See Pyrene Co Limited v Scindia Navigation Co Limited 1954.

Furthermore, a charterer cannot undertake his role in the stowage of cargo so badly as to render the vessel unseaworthy and then transfer a responsibility for cargo damage back to the owner.

Implication of Hague Rules Article III, Rule 3:

The owner is obliged to issue a bill of lading for the cargo loaded. The bill of Lading should accurately reflect the cargo loaded. To the extent that the vessel is unable to determine the cargo quantity, quantity or condition then the bill of lading should reflect this. Issue of a bill of lading in terms that are inaccurate will expose an owner to claims under the bill of lading.