Court of Appeal of Venice 1 March 1999, Plaumann & Co. GmbH v. Adriatica di Navigazione - The “Egizia” (2001 Dir. Mar. 1450)
Plaumann and Co. GmbH of Hamburg purchased 480 tons onions which were loaded in Alexandria, Egypt on the m/v Egizia of Adriatica di Navigazione S.p.A. and carried from Alexandria to Trieste. A clause was inserted in the bills of lading to the effect that the consignment consisted of perishable goods and that the vessel was not responsible for damages. At discharge the goods were found to be seriously damaged and their sale for human consumption was denied. Plaumann and Co. commenced proceedings before the Tribunal of Venice against Adriatica di Navigazione claiming damages. The claim was rejected by the Tribunal of Venice and Plaumann and Co. appealed to the Court of Appeal of Venice.
Held, by the Court of Appeal of Venice, that:
(1) The bill of lading clause which exonerates the carrier from liability in respect of damage to perishable goods stowed in the holds is null since it is in conflict with Art. 3 r. 1(c) of the Hague-Visby Rules which expressly provides that the carrier has the duty to make the holds fit and safe for the reception, carriage and preservation of the goods, as well as with Art. 3 r. 8 which provides that any clause relieving the carrier from liability is null and void.