The Koblenz Higher Regional Court recently confirmed that tour operators cannot be held liable by cruise passengers for gym injuries sustained during large swells. The decision re-emphasises the fact that ships shift constantly at sea and that all passengers should therefore take appropriate care while on board – particularly during large swells – as failure to do so may deny them the ability to claim damages if an accident occurs.
Under the Insolvency Act, claims by an insolvent creditor remain enforceable. However, due to certain restrictions, debtors of a bunker supplier may be prohibited from effecting payment to the insolvent company directly. The risks for vessel owners and charterers arising as a result of the insolvency of a contractual bunker supplier are complex. The best way forward is risk awareness when negotiating supply contracts and charterparties.
In case of unpaid bunker deliveries, the risk that a vessel will be arrested in Germany is limited. It may be present if there are direct contractual relations between the vessel owner and bunker supplier or if the physical bunker supplier has a maritime lien in respect of the vessel. If the vessel arrest turns out to be unlawful, the vessel owner may claim damages from the arresting party.
A recent case before the Stuttgart Court of Appeal demonstrates the tenacity with which parties are prepared to battle in order to prevent the application of the Montreal Convention and its limitation of liability regime. The case also highlights the fact that the application of the convention may be denied even in cases where the carrier issued an air waybill.
A recent appeal decision contains two aspects of interest in international carriage involving Germany and a non-EU state. The contract in question did not contain a choice of law clause. In the court of first instance the parties predominantly relied on German law provisions and the appeal court ruled that this was sufficient to assume a tacit agreement between the parties on the application of German law.
The Federal Supreme Court recently ruled that the discharge of a vessel and storage of its goods in the port area of a seaport form part of the sea carriage leg of a voyage with respect to liability, unless special circumstances deem otherwise. This means that the sea carriage leg does not end, as one would perhaps expect, when the cargo is discharged.