In the lead up to delivery under shipbuilding and offshore fabrication contracts where delivery is delayed, buyers may occasionally face claims that they have disrupted the contractor's progress in such a way that the contractor is entitled to an extension of the delivery date and/or damages for the additional costs incurred. A recent ruling from the Supreme Court involving land-based construction clarifies the requirements as to causation for such a claim to succeed.
In a March 2019 case, the Hamburg Higher Regional Court had to decide whether the claimant had a control and inspection duty under the Commercial Code and, if so, to what extent the damage should be reduced for reasons of contributory negligence. The decision clarifies that shippers can rely on carriers to provide a sound transport vehicle.
Despite it being almost six years since the 2014 oil price crash, there appears to still be only limited appetite for new investments in the offshore space, with many offshore investors and other stakeholders appearing to be keeping their powder dry until more obvious signs of an upturn are visible on the horizon. This article examines the current situation and some of the contracting solutions in the offshore markets.
The Court of Appeal recently overturned a High Court decision regarding the alleged breach of a contract of carriage. The plaintiff claimed that the carrier had failed to deliver the contracted goods when the original bills of lading had been presented and that this amounted to a fundamental breach of the underlying contract. Although the High Court had held that the defendant-carrier had not breached the contract, the Court of Appeal found that the High Court had erred in respect of its findings with respect to liability and quantum.
A recent Maritime and Commercial Court decision concerned carrier liability for temperature damage to a consignment of pharmaceuticals. The court's judgment signals that carriers must make quick decisions and implement actions to respond to temperature alarms in order to avoid unlimited liability.
The UK Supreme Court's recent landmark decision in the Renos case clarifies that when determining whether a vessel is a constructive total loss under the English Institute Time Clauses Hulls conditions, regard should be had to the costs incurred prior to the owner's notice of abandonment, but not to remuneration payable under a special compensation protection and indemnity clause. But what would the position be under the 2019 version of the Nordic Marine Insurance Plan 2013?
The Supreme Court recently clarified that when determining whether a vessel is a constructive total loss under the Institute Time Clauses Hulls conditions, regard should be had to the costs incurred prior to the owner's notice of abandonment, but not to remuneration payable under a special compensation protection and indemnity clause. The decision is a landmark decision on marine insurance because of its financial and practical implications.
A recent Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf decision concerning the partial loss of goods has strengthened the position of carriers. The court found that it is not enough to inform a carrier's driver of the risk of theft only when loading goods, as the carrier will have no time to assess the situation. The notification of risk must be made in good time so that the carrier can make a decision in the normal course of business.
On 1 January 2020 the permissible limit of sulphur in fuel oil used on vessels will be reduced from 3.5% to 0.5% pursuant to the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO's) 2020 regulations (known as 'IMO 2020') in order to improve air quality and protect the environment. With less than one month until the regulations enter into force, how prepared is Brazil for IMO 2020?
No matter how well goods are packaged and how great the effort of a carrier to consign a delivery in perfect condition to the customer, damage to goods, pallets and packaging cannot always be avoided. If damage occurs, the carrier will quickly be faced with a claim for damages, either from the shipper, the recipient or their insurer. The Federal Court of Justice redefined the calculation of damages in a ruling at the end of 2018.
Ports in the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp region are historically known as ship arrest paradises. However, there are developments in connection with conservatory measures which are less well known and that have not been extensively reported on. These developments concern securing evidence following a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2013, which has served as a starting point for several cases.
According to the Bremen Higher Regional Court, if agreed by contracting parties, goods can be delivered by parking a shipping container in front of the consignee's premises during non-business hours. In such instances, the carrier will not be liable if the cargo is stolen. This decision is a useful reminder that parties to a transport contract must have unequivocal terms of delivery.
The Shipping Deputy Ministry recently issued the Merchant Shipping (Fees and Dues with respect to Ocean Going Commercial Cyprus Ships) Regulations, which contain the new fees and charges payable for ocean-going commercial ships registered in Cyprus. In particular, the regulations cover fees concerning the registration of ships and other transactions with the shipping registry (eg, ship certificates and applications for the transfer of ownership or name change of a ship).
A caveat registered in the courts serves to prevent a ship's arrest by committing to pay a bond for any sum claimed against the ship which is equal to or less than the amount stated in the caveat. Entering a caveat against release does not automatically entitle the caveator to the security flowing from a ship in respect of which a caveat has been entered. A request for security can be made only when there is a subsisting claim against the ship in respect of which the caveat is entered.
A significant recent judgment by the Genoa Court of Appeal examined the extent and nature of the informative duties imposed on shipbrokers under Italian law. The decision applies to shipbrokers the principles outlined by the Italian courts for general brokerage activities (in particular, real estate brokerage for which the case law is richer and more consistent). Consequently, a general and uniform legal framework has been extended to shipbrokers.
Flying the Dutch flag has unfortunately become less popular with shipowners over the past 10 years. Although the exact reasons for this fall in popularity are unknown, the presumption that flying the Dutch flag is limited by the location of the vessel's owner may be a contributing factor. However, although on the face of it only European shipowners appear to be able to obtain a nationality certificate, the scope for flying the Dutch flag is actually much wider.
The Budapest Convention on the Contract for the Carriage of Goods by Inland Waterways (CMNI) states that all claims arising from contracts regulated thereunder become time barred one year after the day on which the goods were or should have been delivered to the consignee. A Higher Shipping Maritime Court decision serves as a useful reminder that Article 24 of the CMNI applies to all claims relating to transport, regardless of which party raises them or whether they concern tortious or enrichment matters.
Federal Court of Justice case law suggests that, in multimodal transport cases, voyages always have a series of sections and there are no stages without sections. However, a recent Hamburg Regional Court decision suggests that there may be transport stages in a multimodal transport system that cannot be attributed to a particular section.
The National Maritime Authority recently published the first draft of what could become the new Colombian maritime code. The draft aims to consolidate the main regulations applicable to maritime activities at the domestic level in a single piece of legislation (ie, a maritime code). Among other things, it incorporates regulations on subjects such as navigation-related issues, contracts for vessel exploitation and court procedures for resolving traditional maritime incidents (eg, collisions).
In a decision which conflicts with the examination sequence typically preferred by the Federal Court of Justice, the Hamburg Higher Regional Court ruled that a carrier's liability had been miscalculated and that that contributory negligence should have been examined before the limitations of liability. The court opined that, in view of Section 254 of the Civil Code, contributory negligence should be considered after or in conjunction with determining concrete damages and before the limitations of liability.