Latest updates

Use of open-loop scrubbers complies with Argentine regulations
Venetucci & Asociados
  • Argentina
  • 29 July 2020

Argentina has not ratified Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and there is no domestic legislation concerning the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems. As a result, there is no prohibition on the use of open-loop scrubbers in territorial seas or internal waterways (eg, when manoeuvring inbound or outbound on the Paraná River or when a vessel is idling or carrying out a loading or discharging operation at a port).

Passage planning – fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Wikborg Rein
  • United Kingdom
  • 22 July 2020

The Court of Appeal recently endorsed a first-instance Admiralty Court decision that a failure to properly prepare a passage plan or properly mark up navigational charts to reflect navigational dangers may amount to a failure to exercise due diligence to make the vessel seaworthy, leading to an actionable fault defence for cargo interests who had refused to contribute to the general average.

Appeal court finds that carrier had strengthened obligation to furnish facts in CMR claim
AKD
  • Netherlands
  • 15 July 2020

The Netherlands has historically been a friendly jurisdiction for Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR) carriers. However, there are some exceptions. In certain circumstances, a claimant may be able to rely on a carrier's 'strengthened obligation to furnish facts'. The Den Bosch Appeal Court recently held that a CMR carrier had such a strengthened obligation in order to enable the claimant to meet its burden of proof regarding (the fault equivalent of) wilful misconduct.

Bareboat registration – new initiative to retain Norway's position as leading maritime nation
Wikborg Rein
  • Norway
  • 15 July 2020

The Norwegian regulations on ship registration have been criticised for being complicated and outdated, thereby making the Norwegian ship registers unattractive compared with more flexible alternatives offered by the so-called 'flags of convenience'. In response to such criticism, Parliament recently passed a bill effecting certain amendments to the relevant legislation aimed at opening up and facilitating the parallel registration of ships (bareboat registration) both in and out of the Norwegian ship registers.

Immunity of jurisdiction defence rejected in compensation claim
Dardani Studio Legale
  • Italy
  • 15 July 2020

The Court of Genoa recently referred a jurisdictional immunity claim to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling on whether it should decline to hear the case on the basis of said immunity exception or whether it must apply the EU Brussels Regulation. The case concerned a compensation claim by survivors and relatives of the deceased of a ferry accident.

ANP amends rule for maritime transport of oil exports
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Brazil
  • 08 July 2020

The National Petroleum Agency recently published a resolution regulating the bulk transportation of oil and its derivatives, natural gas and biofuels by water, including deep-sea navigation, cabotage and maritime, port and inland support. According to the new resolution, waterway transportation for export purposes must be carried out by Brazilian companies.

Court rules that 'fear of loss' does not constitute damage under CMR
AKD
  • Netherlands
  • 08 July 2020

Under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR), carriers are liable for the total or partial loss of goods or damage to goods that occurs between the carrier taking charge of the goods and delivery. The Court of Amsterdam recently held that the word 'damage' in the relevant sections of the CMR presumes substantial physical change to the state of the goods and ruled out, in this case, that a broken seal on a container represented damage.

Discharging cargo from ships that are under arrest
Shearn Delamore & Co
  • Malaysia
  • 08 July 2020

Malaysian law permits the discharge of cargo on board a ship that is under arrest when the cargo itself is not. The discharge of the cargo will be at the expense of the intervener that asserts its rights over the cargo – namely, the cargo interest. Applications of this nature are usually filed and heard on an urgent basis by way of a certificate of urgency.

A city is a city but not a concrete legal venue
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 01 July 2020

Two freight forwarding companies were in dispute over the payment of freight forwarding charges in connection with a transport from Germany to the United Kingdom. After out-of-court negotiations failed, the plaintiff filed a complaint with the Duisburg Local Court. The plaintiff claimed that the local court's jurisdiction derived from its general terms and conditions, in which Duisburg was stated as the place of jurisdiction.

Dispute resolution regulations for bunkering operations
Fenech & Fenech Advocates
  • Malta
  • 01 July 2020

Transport Malta's Ports and Yachting Directorate recently issued a port notice to remind recipients about the Dispute Resolution (Procedures) Regulation. The regulation applies to bunkering operations where a dispute has arisen between the bunkering fuel operator and provider and the receiving vessel. The procedure provides for an alternative dispute resolution mechanism that aims to be swift, economical, transparent and simple.

Limitation of liability – determining the meaning of 'operator' and 'manager'
Wikborg Rein
  • United Kingdom
  • 24 June 2020

The Admiralty Court recently handed down a judgment which looked in detail at the scope and meaning of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims – in particular, the meaning of the phrase "the operator of the ship" in Article 1(2). In determining the meaning of 'operator', it was also necessary for the court to examine the meaning of 'manager'. This is the first time that the English courts have been called on to consider this issue.

Judicial saga of crew wage claims
Akabogu & Associates
  • Nigeria
  • 24 June 2020

In a recent ruling concerning a claim for crew wages, the National Industrial Court held that Section 254C(1)(a) of the Constitution clearly vests the court with the exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine civil causes and matters relating to or connected with labour, employment, trade unions or industrial relations and matters arising from the workplace. The claim in question was for N500 million in compensation for the defendant's failure to observe safety standards and procedures during a fumigation exercise.

Deliberate recklessness of carrier in disregard of instruction
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 10 June 2020

A higher regional court recently found that a carrier had acted with wilful misconduct by disregarding a claimant's shipping order which contained a clear instruction to refrain from parking in unguarded parking spaces. Senders are well advised to give clear instructions to carriers by agreements in their contracts of carriage. If such clear instructions by the customer are not followed and damage arises, the carrier faces the reproach of wilful misconduct.

Vessel delays due to COVID-19: who bears the costs?
Akabogu & Associates
  • Nigeria
  • 10 June 2020

The president recently announced that only cargo vessels which have been at sea for more than 14 days can dock in Nigerian ports. The 14 days referred to by the president will start from the last port of call, which means that vessels trans-shipping in Tema or Cotonou before arriving in Nigeria will be subject to delays of at least 12 days before berthing. However, most shipowners have drafted clauses to excuse themselves and their ship from any liability arising from delays caused by COVID-19.

Notification is key: prevention principle, delay and extensions of time under shipbuilding contracts
Wikborg Rein
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 May 2020

A recent High Court decision provides an in-depth analysis of how, if at all, the prevention principle applies to shipbuilding contracts and the importance of good contract management to notify and seek extensions for events of delay. The dispute arose in the context of 11 arbitrations between a seller and a buyer concerning a series of 14 bulk carriers which were to be designed and constructed by the seller in China.

Unloading trailers: who bears responsibility under CMR?
WSCO Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Denmark
  • 20 May 2020

A recent Maritime and Commercial Court case examined a claim for damage to goods during unloading under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR). The court found that a CMR carrier is not liable for damage in connection with the unloading of goods irrespective of whether the unloading was performed by a driver, as drivers in such instances may be deemed to act on behalf of consignees.

Court demands unequivocal proof of insurer's subrogation in damages suit
Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados
  • Brazil
  • 13 May 2020

The São Paulo Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling in a redress lawsuit filed by an insurer against an ocean carrier, confirming the lack of proof of subrogation and disregarding the cargo survey carried out unilaterally by the insurer's surveyor. The case concerned cargo damage which had allegedly occurred during ocean carriage from Shanghai to Santos.

Limited liability of carrier's bodies in case of loss of deck cargo
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 13 May 2020

In 2018 the Hamburg Higher Regional Court ruled on a damages claim arising from the loss of deck cargo during a sea voyage. The court had to examine under what circumstances bodies acting on behalf of a carrier have acted with gross negligence where cargo goes overboard due to inadequate lashing or securing. In maritime transport, a gross organisational fault on the part of bodies acting on behalf of a carrier breaks the limitation of liability.

Obligation to pay compensation for damages following disruption of tram network
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Germany
  • 06 May 2020

The Frankfurt District Court recently ruled in a dispute between the operator of the city's tram network and the insurer of a vehicle which had parked in such a way as to block the tram tracks. The dispute concerned the plaintiff's claim for compensation for the damages that it had suffered as a result of the vehicle owner interfering in its business operations.

Ship sale and purchase transactions and acquisition of business assets: recent developments
Dardani Studio Legale
  • Italy
  • 06 May 2020

Italian law includes no specific rules concerning the sale of ships. As such, the general rules on the sale of movable assets apply. However, should the purchase of a ship qualify as an acquisition of business assets, certain mandatory rules of law apply. In two recent judgments, the Rome Court of Appeal held that the mandatory rules regarding the transfer of business assets do not apply to sale and purchase agreements concerning a single ship.