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.
In a recent case filed in its admiralty jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of Cyprus had to consider whether accidents which take place in the Cyprus exclusive economic zone (EEZ) give jurisdiction to the Cyprus courts. The court decided that it has jurisdiction to hear disputes regarding accidents which occur within its territory, including the Cyprus EEZ, provided that the accident concerns the prospection or exploitation of Cyprus's natural resources.
Cyprus recently ratified the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments. Its objective is to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment – especially the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another – and the consequential damage to health and natural resources. To meet this objective, the convention establishes standards and procedures for the management and control of ships' ballast water and sediments.
Since 2009, the Central Bank has carried out semi-annual market surveys of Cyprus residents who provide ship management services to ship-owning companies registered in Cyprus and abroad. The surveys collect data on financial transactions (revenues and expenses) between resident ship management companies and non-residents of Cyprus. The most recent survey, which covers the second half of 2017, was published on April 27 2018.
The Deputy Ministry of Shipping recently announced that from January 1 2020, all masters, chief officers and officers in charge of a navigational watch serving on board Cyprus-flagged vessels operating in polar waters must hold the appropriate certificate of proficiency in training, as required by the International Maritime Organisation's International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters.
The Department of Merchant Shipping recently announced the publication of the Essential Requirements (Recreational Craft and Personal Watercraft) Regulations 2017. The new regulations set required standards for design and construction and exhaust and noise emissions. They apply to recreational and personal craft, specified components when placed on the EU market, engines and engine conversions and substantial modifications to vessels.
The High Court of Western Denmark recently decided in favour of a Danish cost insurance and freight (CIF) seller in a jurisdiction dispute involving a Czech buyer. The court found that the CIF clause agreed under the International Commercial Terms 2010 stipulated that the place of delivery under the contract was located in Denmark and that the Danish court seized had enjoyed jurisdiction under the EU Brussels I Regulation.
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.
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.
The Transport Code (formally the Act on Transport Services) is one of the government's key initiatives. The code's main purpose is to create a growth environment for business digitalisation and promote transport business by deregulation. The code will reform the regulation of all transport modes, so that the regulation itself will not become an obstacle to digitalisation, automation and new innovations.
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.