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Nile Dutch v. Delta Lloyd et alia

2009 March 13
by Hein Kernkamp

Court: Netherlands Supreme Court

Date: February 1st, 2008

LJN numer: BA5799

Case: Sea carriage under a Bill of Lading of a consignment of raw tobacco from Cameroon to Amsterdam. Is the carrier liable for damage to the tobacco as a result of to the poor state of maintenance of the containers that the carrier has put at the shipper’s disposal for the carriage?

Held: Cargo worthiness extends to containers. Although not specifically mentioned in the Hague Visby Rules, containers made available by the carrier belong to the parts of the ship extending to the carrier’s duty of care. By making available rusty and damaged containers into which sea water could easily penetrate during transit, the carrier has neglected the duty to exercise due diligence make all parts of the ship in which goods are carried, fit and safe for their reception, carriage and preservation. Hence, the carrier cannot successfully rely on any clause, covenant, or agreement in a contract of carriage relieving the carrier or the ship from liability for loss or damage (Article 4, paragraph 2 Hague Visby Rules).

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