The admiralty division of the Supreme Court recently issued a judgment confirming that a warrant of arrest may be issued only in in rem proceedings against a vessel itself. The case concerned a dispute of the company shareholders which owned the Cyprus-registered vessel Mediterranean Diamond. The sole defendant in the proceedings was the shipowning company.
COVID-19 lockdown measures have significantly disrupted cruise ship operations and the financing arrangements in place between financiers and cruise liner companies. Anxious to maintain the good standing of cruise liner companies during the suspension of operations, financiers have been quick to offer debt restructuring solutions to borrowers to fill the liquidity void. At the local level, the most common refinancing exercise involving Malta-flagged vessels is the renegotiation of debt holidays.
The Shipping Deputy Ministry recently issued Circular 20/2020, notifying interested parties of the entry into force of the 2018 amendments to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. The amendments will enter into force on 26 December 2020. In essence, the amendments aim to provide additional protection to seafarers in the event that they are held captive as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships.
Shipping finance transactions are characterised by peculiar risk factors principally on account of shipping assets' transient operations. The applicable rules and mercantile uses – reflective of this reality themselves – must therefore be adequately factored into financiers' lending procedures and loan recovery strategies, whether they be banks or private investors. This article offers helpful guidance to such lenders.
The Supreme Court recently issued a significant decision on the apportionment of a salvage reward among a shipowner and cargo interests. The decision has confirmed the principle already expressed in previous Supreme Court judgments that the shipowner is liable towards the salvor for an entire salvage reward, subject to recourse action by said shipowner against the cargo interests. However, the Supreme Court's conclusions are debatable, as is its interpretation of Article 497 of the Code of Navigation.
In Spring 2018 the Federal Customs Administration ordered two Swiss forwarders to apply the simplified customs declaration procedure for certain imports. The freight forwarders challenged the orders questioning, among other things, whether Article 105b of the Customs Ordinance is compatible with the constitutional framework. The Federal Administrative Court has now confirmed the forwarders' view that the Federal Customs Act does not provide a sufficient legal basis for consumer protection orders.
In 2019 the Flensburg court considered damage to a sailing yacht which had occurred during a sailing regatta (ie, a series of boat races) in 2010. The judgment strengthens the legal position of insureds with yacht hull insurance. It highlights that insurers have the onus to prove that the insured was aware of the unseaworthiness when the voyage commenced. It is not enough to prove the unseaworthiness – insurers must prove that the owner was aware thereof.
In a recently published decision, the Würzburg Regional Court held that if a carrier does not submit a single offer to the consignor for carriage by different means of transport for the entire route as requested, but rather makes separate offers for the inland and ocean-going routes, and these offers are accepted by the consignor, it is not a true multimodal contract, but rather an inland waterway contract and a separate ocean-going contract.
The Danish Maritime and Commercial Court recently rejected a jurisdictional claim in a dispute between a Danish shipowner and a Spanish shipyard. It follows from the judgment that a jurisdiction clause in a repair contract in some instances requires that the party which receives the other party's general terms and conditions must accept the jurisdiction clause in writing in order for it to be binding between the parties.
Discussions have recently arisen among academics and professionals as to whether Colombia's pollution protection regime for ships carrying crude oil as cargo or bunkers is satisfactory. Thus, now seems like a good time to reopen the debate on whether ratifying the Supplementary Fund Protocol and other international instruments (eg, the Bunkers Convention) could help Colombia to protect itself adequately against this type of incident.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates aviation, railroad, highway, marine and pipeline accidents to determine their probable cause and issues safety recommendations to reduce the risk of future accidents. It is critical that companies carefully navigate their activities with the NTSB during the first 24 to 48 hours after an incident. That is not the time to learn about how the NTSB conducts accident investigations. This article provides companies with an overview of NTSB investigations.
The Maritime and Commercial Court recently examined a compensation claim for stolen champagne. The customer argued that the carrier should have taken precautions to protect the goods against theft. However, the court decided that the carrier could limit its liability for the theft. The judgment is in line with Danish court practice concerning liability for the theft of high-value and exposed goods.
A Danish court recently found a freight forwarder to be vicariously liable to a Danish company for fire damage caused to cargo carried by a subcontractor. The judgment suggests that a contracting carrier may incur liability where a general average situation is deemed to have occurred if it fails to provide information to its customer about the concrete circumstances that give rise to the general average situation, even when the contracting carrier holds no information about said circumstances.
The effort to make lashing a cargo-handling activity rather than a crew activity is set out in the so-called 'dockers' clause', contained in collective agreements covering some 15,000 seagoing vessels worldwide. A recent decision by the Rotterdam Court rejected the claimants' request to immediately prohibit lashing by seafarers in advance of the results of main proceedings. The court also raised the possibility that the clause could prove to be against the principles of reasonableness and fairness, as well as anti-competitive.
More than 20 years since the enactment of Law 9,432/97 (the Navigation Act), a major reform of Brazil's cabotage laws is underway. The federal government, after public hearings and debate, recently concluded the draft of the BR do Mar Bill and sent it to Congress for urgent review. This article examines the bill's main aims and the measures that it proposes to introduce.
The river cruise industry is without doubt one of the sectors that has been hit hardest by COVID-19 measures. Charterers and tour operators have been confronted with the fact that cruises which they have sold to their customers and want to continue to sell cannot be carried out as intended and the question arises as to whether they will still have to pay the contractual charter rate despite the current situation. This article provides an overview of the legal situation under Swiss law.
Charterparties commonly contain an arbitration clause. One of the perceived advantages of arbitration over litigation is worldwide recognition and enforceability of arbitral awards on the basis of the New York Convention. However, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court should serve as a warning to those considering inserting an arbitration clause in their contracts with a view to seeking subsequent enforcement in the Netherlands.
Malta has always been at the forefront of offering solid, reliable solutions to yacht owners depending on their individual requirements and the intended use of their yacht. The first half of 2020 has seen the introduction of updated rules affecting operating leases and streamlined importation procedures, offering owners the possibility of availing themselves of a number of solutions and procedures catering to their individual requirements.
A higher regional court recently found that a contract of carriage by sea is not a contract with protective effect in favour of other shippers. The shipper's obligations relating to proper and safe packaging and labelling were meant to primarily protect the carrier, not other shippers. The court's judgment, dismissing the idea of a contractual link between two shippers of the same carrier, does seem convincing.
Arbitration is the most commonly used dispute resolution mechanism in shipping and offshore contracts. However, parties often tend to spend little or no effort reflecting on the type of arbitration solution chosen (ie, ad hoc versus institutional arbitration). This article highlights the benefits of agreeing to arbitration under the rules of the Nordic Offshore and Maritime Arbitration Association versus ad hoc arbitration.