For local lawyers working in the shipping and transport sector at the domestic level, the question of whether Colombia really is a Hague/Hague-Visby Rules jurisdiction has been posed on many occasions. In particular, despite the fact that Colombia has not yet properly ratified any of the existing instruments available internationally, the relevant section of the Commercial Code has supposedly been founded on the Hague Rules.
The implications of the new International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) amendment on verified gross mass have been widely discussed in the shipping industry. The concept of 'estimated weight' was recently abandoned and all interests must now collaborate to determine the 'verified gross mass' of any packed container that is to be loaded on board any ship to which Chapter IV of SOLAS applies. Resolution 2793 addresses this issue in Colombia.
Although contracts pertaining to the multimodal carriage of goods are not regulated at the international level, some jurisdictions have their own instruments which address the matter at a regional level, such as the Andean Multimodal Regime. Although case law on the application of the regime is minimal, a recent court decision recognised its mandatory nature in a case pertaining to liability under a multimodal carriage contract.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued an updated list of countries whose certificates of competency are recognised by Cyprus under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, as amended. The only change from the previous list, issued in November 2014, is the addition of Jordan.
The Department of Merchant Shipping has announced that it will be a deputy ministry with effect from March 1 2018 and be renamed the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, following the entry into force of the Establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Shipping and Appointment of a Deputy Minister of Shipping and for Matters Connected Therewith Law 2017. As successor to the Department of Merchant Shipping, the deputy ministry will assume all of the former's rights, responsibilities, powers and obligations.
Article 47A of the Merchant Shipping (Issue and Recognition of Certificates and Marine Training) Laws provides that crew members on-board coastal passenger vessels who have safety duties relating to passengers must meet the mandatory minimum familiarisation and basic safety training and instruction requirements for all seafarers under Regulation VI/I of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a reminder to registered owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of Cyprus-flagged ships regarding the renewal of civil liability certificates. The expiry date for most existing certificates is February 20 2018 and there has been an unprecedented delay in the submission of renewal applications. The department therefore urges parties that require a renewal to apply without further delay.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently issued a notification to owners, bareboat charterers, managers and representatives of Cyprus-flagged and foreign-flagged vessels visiting ports in Cyprus. The amendments concern the mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualification of masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on passenger ships and masters and deck officers on ships operating in polar waters.
The Supreme Court recently decided a case on appeal from the Maritime and Commercial Court concerning whether the latter had jurisdiction to hear proceedings that a Danish seller had brought against a Dutch terminal and a Danish carrier following a lost food consignment pursuant to Article 8(1) of the Brussels I Regulation. The Supreme Court reversed the Maritime and Commercial Court's decision and found that the conditions for applying Article 8(1) had been fulfilled.
A recent Maritime and Commercial Court case concerned liability for damage to a container transported from Denmark to the United States. The bill of lading included a network liability clause which limited liability to $500 per package when damage or loss occurred during sea carriage or where the damage occurred could not be localised. The court found that the damages had been caused during the land transport leg in the United States and therefore the carrier's liability could not be limited.
A bill to amend the Danish regulations on the registration of ships under Section 2 of the Merchant Shipping Act was recently passed with the aim of attracting non-EU and non-EEA merchant shipowners and shipping and management companies to the Danish flag. The bill's main innovations include an increasingly transparent activity requirement, multiple ways of satisfying this requirement and an equal establishment requirement that applies to EU and non-EU shipowners.
The Maritime and Commercial Court recently found that bad weather during sea carriage that results in cargo damage does not exempt a carrier from liability if the weather conditions were forecast or not unusual in the geographical location in question during the relevant season. However, the judgment provides no guidance on the liability issues that arise if the prevailing weather conditions render it impossible to conduct repairs of defects that occur in a container being carried at sea.
A recent Maritime and Commercial High Court decision concerning the carriage of a consignment of different types of medical product found that smoke contamination constituted visible damage under the Carriage of Goods by Road Act. The decision underlines the importance of inserting reservations into waybills when a consignee has reasonable grounds for doing so and illustrates the dire consequences of failing to do so.
The extent to which sleeping in vehicles is allowed under EU law has been the subject of much debate in the road transportation industry. EU employers of drivers of road transport vehicles will have noted with interest the European Court of Justice (ECJ) advocate general's recent opinion that drivers cannot take their regular weekly rest periods inside their vehicles. Although it may be several months before the ECJ reaches a decision on this issue, the court usually follows the advocate general's advice.
Fairway dues have been a much-discussed issue in Finland for years. The controversy began in 2000 when the Finnish authorities began suspecting that ships which regularly entered and departed Finnish waters did not fully comply with the technical requirements for vessels of the relevant ice class. The authorities subsequently began collecting fairway dues retroactively. This led shipping companies and their agents to file hundreds of appeals in the administrative courts.
Correct temperature is vital to maintaining the feasibility and effectiveness of pharmaceuticals throughout their lifecycle, including during carriage. Although various guidelines have been issued and express provisions have been included in transport agreements to maintain the cold chain, damage often occurs. The Helsinki Appeal Court recently considered whether the level of a carrier's liability should be agreed in advance and whether failure to maintain an agreed temperature should constitute gross negligence.
The Supreme Court recently issued a much-awaited decision and upheld a Court of Appeal decision involving Uber passenger rides. The Supreme Court ruled that to provide an Uber service a driver must have a taxi licence. It found a driver who had driven Uber passengers without such a licence guilty and imposed a €2,100 fine.
The Supreme Court recently found that the Maritime Code should have been applied in a personal injury case and that the Espoo District Court (as a general court) did not have subject-matter jurisdiction over the claim. The Supreme Court found that when determining which court has subject-matter jurisdiction, it is necessary to first investigate whether the provisions of the Maritime Code become applicable.
In a recent case, the Supreme Administrative Court considered whether empty containers owned by those other than shipowners or charterers should be regarded as cargo in the meaning of Section 11 of the Fairway Dues Act, because 'cargo' is not defined in the act. In addition, the court considered the effect of the customs instructions in this matter.