This next decision of the Federal Court of Canada reviews the Hague Visby Rules’ treatment of deck cargo
De Wolf Maritime Safety BV v Traffic-Tech International Inc (The “Cap Jackson”) Federal Ct (St Louis J) 2017 FC 23
De Wolf was the owner and consignee of a shipment described in a bill of lading as “One piece zodiac and Spare Parts”, shipped on board the vessel Cap Jackson from Vancouver to Rotterdam. The container was carried under a bill of lading issued by Traffic-Tech, which made no mention of on-deck carriage. The container was carried on deck and was washed overboard and lost during the voyage. The cargo owner was unaware that the cargo was being carried on deck, until it was notified of the loss. Canadian Court was asked to consider two questions: (1) Did the undeclared on-deck carriage of the cargo under the bill of lading prevent the defendant from relying on the Hague-Visby Rules? and (2) If it did not, what were the limitations applicable to the contract of carriage pursuant to the Hague-Visby Rules?
The judge held:
The question of issue of recklessness and intent of the carrier under article IV rule 5(e) of the Hague-Visby Rules was one of fact and not law and did not arise in the present case because no evidence was provided to support such claim.
This is a Canadian case but given that the judge relied on English authority when reaching a decision and the case relates to Hague Visby Rules and English Courts support themselves with Canadian and United States authorities when interpreting Convention law, it is suggested that the decision would be followed by the English Courts.