Rules

Note that the Rules specifically refer to Bills of Lading or other documents of title; the Rules do not apply to charter parties.  If, however, a bill of lading is issued in respect of a ship under a charter party the Rules will apply to the contract evidence by the bill of lading. Thus, where a bill of lading is issued to a charterer within the charter party as evidence or receipt only for the goods, the Rules are not applicable. However if the charterer endorses that B/L in favour of an endorsee, the Rules will then govern the relationship between the charterer and the endorsee and are applicable from the moment of endorsement. The parties to a charter party may specify that all B/Ls issued under it shall be governed by the Hague-Visby Rules (a Clause Paramount) thus the Rules will apply even if the shipment does not originate from a country which has adopted the Rules. The term “contract of carriage” applies only to contracts of carriage governed by a bill of lading or similar document: a non-negotiable receipt will not necessarily be a bill of lading.  For this reason, sea waybills frequently specify that the Rules will apply. The term “carrier” as used in the Act means either the shipowner or the charterer who enters into a contract with the shipper and is thus the person liable to be sued by the bill of lading holder. The Act does not apply to carriage or storage before the port of shipment or after the port of discharge because that would be inland and not sea carriage. But where the goods are shipped but are subsequently discharged and stored at an intermediate port prior to transhipment on to another vessel, the Act applies during the period of storage for the storage is an operation in relation to and in connection with the carriage of goods by sea in ships.