Cap 462 - CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA ORDINANCE 1
Chapter: 462 CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA ORDINANCE Gazette Number Version Date
Long title 30/06/1997
An Ordinance to regulate liability in respect of the carriage of goods by sea.
[16 December 1994]
(Originally 104 of 1994)
Section: 1 Short title 30/06/1997
This Ordinance may be cited as the Carriage of Goods by Sea Ordinance.
Section: 2 Interpretation L.N. 282 of 2006 02/01/2007
(1) In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires-
"Monetary Authority" (金融管理專員) has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Exchange Fund Ordinance
"the Rules" (《規則》) means the International Convention for the Unification of certain Rules of Law relating to
Bills of Lading signed at Brussels on 25 August 1924, which was established in a single original in the French
language, as amended by the Protocol signed at Brussels on 23 February 1968 and by the Protocol signed at
Brussels on 21 December 1979, both of which were established in a single original in the English and French
"ship" (船舶) means any vessel used for carriage of goods by sea, other than a vessel which is regularly employed in
trading to or from Hong Kong and which is required to be certificated under the Merchant Shipping (Local
Vessels) Ordinance (Cap 548). (Amended 43 of 1999 s. 91)
(2) References in this Ordinance to Articles are references to Articles of the Rules.
Section: 3 Application of Hague Rules as amended 30/06/1997
(1) Subject to subsection (3) the Rules as set out in the Schedule shall have the force of law.
(2) The Rules shall also apply to the carriage of goods by sea in ships where the port of shipment is in Hong
Kong, whether or not the carriage is between ports in 2 different States within the meaning of Article X.
(3) Nothing in this section shall be taken as applying anything in the Rules to any contract for the carriage of
goods by sea, unless the contract expressly or by implication provides for the issue of a bill of lading or any similar
document of title.
(4) The Rules shall also apply to-
(a) any bill of lading if the contract contained in or evidenced by it expressly provides that the Rules shall
govern the contract; and
(b) any receipt which is a non-negotiable document marked as such if the contract contained in or
evidenced by it is a contract for the carriage of goods by sea which expressly provides that the Rules
are to govern the contract as if the receipt were a bill of lading,
but where paragraph (b) applies, the Rules shall be construed and have effect-
(i) as if the following were omitted-
(A) "However, proof to the contrary shall not be admissible when the bill of lading has been
transferred to a third party acting in good faith." from paragraph 4 of Article III; and
(B) paragraph 7 of Article III; and
(ii) subject to any other necessary modification.
(5) (a) If and in so far as the contract contained in or evidenced by a bill of lading or receipt referred to in
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paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (4) applies to deck cargo or live animals, the Rules as applied by that
subsection shall be construed and have effect as if all the words following "whatsoever" were omitted
from Article I(c).
(b) In this subsection "deck cargo" (艙面貨物) means cargo which by the contract of carriage is stated as
being carried on deck and is so carried.
Section: 4 Certification of contracting States, etc. 64 of 1999 01/07/1997
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 64 of 1999 s. 3
(1) The Chief Executive may by order certify that for the purposes of the Rules- (Amended 64 of 1999 s. 3)
(a) a State specified in the order is a contracting State, or is a contracting State in respect of any place or
territory so specified; or
(b) any place or territory specified in the order forms part of a State so specified (whether a contracting
State or not).
(2) For the purposes of the Rules an order under this section shall be conclusive evidence of the matters so
Section: 5 Absolute warranty of seaworthiness not to be implied in
contracts to which the Rules apply
There shall not be implied in any contract for the carriage of goods by sea to which the Rules apply any absolute
undertaking by the carrier of the goods to provide a seaworthy ship.
Section: 6 Application of Articles IV and X 30/06/1997
(1) The date referred to in paragraph 5(d) of Article IV is hereby determined to be the date of the relevant
judgment of the court of first instance or, in case there is an appeal, the date on which the appeal is determined.
(2) Article X shall have effect as if references therein to a contracting State included a reference to a State that
is a contracting State in respect of the Rules without the amendments made by the Protocol signed at Brussels on 21
December 1979, and section 4 shall be construed and have effect accordingly.
Section: 7 Conversion of special drawing rights 30/06/1997
(1) For the purposes of Article IV the Monetary Authority may specify in Hong Kong dollar the respective
amounts which are to be taken as equivalent for a particular day to the sums expressed in special drawing rights in that
(2) A certificate given by or on behalf of the Monetary Authority in pursuance of subsection (1) shall for the
purposes of that subsection be conclusive evidence of the matters stated in the certificate, and a document purporting
to be such a certificate shall in any proceedings be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed
to be such a certificate.
(3) The Monetary Authority may charge a reasonable fee for any certificate given in pursuance of subsection
(2), and every such fee shall be paid into the general revenue.
Section: 8 Repeals and savings 30/06/1997
(1) The following are repealed-
(a) the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Hong Kong) Order 1980 (App. III, p. BS1);
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(b) the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Hong Kong) (Amendment) Order 1980 (L.N. 285 of 1981); and
(c) the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Hong Kong) Order 1982 (App. III, p. AR1).
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1)-
(a) the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Parties to Convention) Order 1985 (Cap 462 sub. leg. A) shall continue
in force, shall be regarded as having been made under section 4(1) and shall be taken to include such
adaptations and modifications (if any) as are necessary or expedient to enable this paragraph to have
(b) the specifications made by the Governor under section 1(5) of the Schedule to the Carriage of Goods
by Sea (Hong Kong) Order 1980 (App. III, p. BS1) shall continue in force and such specifications shall
be taken to include such adaptations and modifications (if any) as are necessary or expedient to enable
this paragraph to have full effect.
(3) Section 23 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1) applies to the repeal of the Orders
mentioned in subsection (1) as it applies to the repeal (in whole or in part) of an Ordinance.
Schedule: SCHEDULE 30/06/1997
(THE HAGUE RULES AS AMENDED BY THE BRUSSELS
PROTOCOLS 1968 AND 1979)
In these Rules the following words are employed, with the meanings set out below-
(a) "Carrier" (承運人) includes the owner or the charterer who enters into a contract of carriage with a
(b) "Contract of carriage" (運輸合約) applies only to contracts of carriage covered by a bill of lading or
any similar document of title, in so far as such document relates to the carriage of goods by sea,
including any bill of lading or any similar document as aforesaid issued under or pursuant to a charter
party from the moment at which such bill of lading or similar document of title regulates the relations
between a carrier and a holder of the same.
(c) "Goods" (貨物) includes goods, wares, merchandise, and articles of every kind whatsoever except live
animals and cargo which by the contract of carriage is stated as being carried on deck and is so carried.
(d) "Carriage of goods" (貨物運輸) covers the period from the time when the goods are loaded on to the
time they are discharged from the ship.
Subject to the provisions of Article VI, under every contract of carriage of goods by sea, the carrier, in relation
to the loading, handling, stowage, carriage, custody, care and discharge of such goods, shall be subject to the
responsibilities and liabilities, and entitled to the rights and immunities hereinafter set forth.
1. The carrier shall be bound before and at the beginning of the voyage to exercise due diligence to-
(a) Make the ship seaworthy.
(b) Properly man, equip and supply the ship.
(c) Make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers, and all other parts of the ship in which goods are
carried, fit and safe for their reception, carriage and preservation.
2. Subject to the provisions of Article IV, the carrier shall properly and carefully load, handle, stow, carry,
keep, care for, and discharge the goods carried.
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3. After receiving the goods into his charge the carrier or the master or agent of the carrier shall, on demand of
the shipper, issue to the shipper a bill of lading showing among other things-
(a) The leading marks necessary for identification of the goods as the same are furnished in writing by the
shipper before the loading of such goods starts, provided such marks are stamped or otherwise shown
clearly upon the goods if uncovered, or on the cases or coverings in which such goods are contained, in
such a manner as should ordinarily remain legible until the end of the voyage.
(b) Either the number of packages or pieces, or the quantity, or weight, as the case may be, as furnished in
writing by the shipper.
(c) The apparent order and condition of the goods.
Provided that no carrier, master or agent of the carrier shall be bound to state or show in the bill of lading any
marks, number, quantity, or weight which he has reasonable ground for suspecting not accurately to represent the
goods actually received, or which he has had no reasonable means of checking.
4. Such a bill of lading shall be prima facie evidence of the receipt by the carrier of the goods as therein
described in accordance with paragraph 3(a), (b) and (c). However, proof to the contrary shall not be admissible when
the bill of lading has been transferred to a third party acting in good faith.
5. The shipper shall be deemed to have guaranteed to the carrier the accuracy at the time of shipment of the
marks, number, quantity and weight, as furnished by him, and the shipper shall indemnify the carrier against all loss,
damages and expenses arising or resulting from inaccuracies in such particulars. The right of the carrier to such
indemnity shall in no way limit his responsibility and liability under the contract of carriage to any person other than
6. Unless notice of loss or damage and the general nature of such loss or damage be given in writing to the
carrier or his agent at the port of discharge before or at the time of the removal of the goods into the custody of the
person entitled to delivery thereof under the contract of carriage, or, if the loss or damage be not apparent, within three
days, such removal shall be prima facie evidence of the delivery by the carrier of the goods as described in the bill of
The notice in writing need not be given if the state of the goods has, at the time of their receipt, been the subject
of joint survey or inspection.
Subject to paragraph 6bis the carrier and the ship shall in any event be discharged from all liability whatsoever
in respect of the goods, unless suit is brought within one year of their delivery or of the date when they should have
been delivered. This period may, however, be extended if the parties so agree after the cause of action has arisen.
In the case of any actual or apprehended loss or damage the carrier and the receiver shall give all reasonable
facilities to each other for inspecting and tallying the goods.
6bis. An action for indemnity against a third person may be brought even after the expiration of the year
provided for in the preceding paragraph if brought within the time allowed by the law of the Court seized of the case.
However, the time allowed shall be not less than three months, commencing from the day when the person bringing
such action for indemnity has settled the claim or has been served with process in the action against himself.
7. After the goods are loaded the bill of lading to be issued by the carrier, master, or agent of the carrier, to the
shipper shall, if the shipper so demands, be a "shipped" bill of lading, provided that if the shipper shall have
previously taken up any document of title to such goods, he shall surrender the same as against the issue of the
"shipped" bill of lading, but at the option of the carrier such document of title may be noted at the port of shipment by
the carrier, master, or agent with the name or names of the ship or ships upon which the goods have been shipped and
the date or dates of shipment, and when so noted, if it shows the particulars mentioned in paragraph 3, shall for the
purpose of this article be deemed to constitute a "shipped" bill of lading.
8. Any clause, covenant, or agreement in a contract of carriage relieving the carrier or the ship from liability
for loss or damage to, or in connection with, goods arising from negligence, fault, or failure in the duties and
obligations provided in this article or lessening such liability otherwise than as provided in these Rules, shall be null
and void and of no effect. A benefit of insurance in favour of the carrier, or similar clause shall be deemed to be a
clause relieving the carrier from liability.
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1. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be liable for loss or damage arising or resulting from unseaworthiness
unless caused by want of due diligence on the part of the carrier to make the ship seaworthy, and to secure that the
ship is properly manned, equipped and supplied, and to make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers and all other
parts of the ship in which goods are carried fit and safe for their reception, carriage and preservation in accordance
with the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article III. Whenever loss or damage has resulted from unseaworthiness the
burden of proving the exercise of due diligence shall be on the carrier or other person claiming exemption under this
2. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible for loss or damage arising or resulting from-
(a) Act, neglect, or default of the master, mariner, pilot, or the servants of the carrier in the navigation or
in the management of the ship.
(b) Fire, unless caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier.
(c) Perils, dangers and accidents of the sea or other navigable waters.
(d) Act of God.
(e) Act of war.
(f) Act of public enemies.
(g) Arrest or restraint of princes, rulers or people, or seizure under legal process.
(h) Quarantine restrictions.
(i) Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods, his agent or representative.
(j) Strikes or lockouts or stoppage or restraint of labour from whatever cause, whether partial or general.
(k) Riots and civil commotions.
(l) Saving or attempting to save life or property at sea.
(m) Wastage in bulk or weight or any other loss or damage arising from inherent defect, quality or vice of
(n) Insufficiency of packing.
(o) Insufficiency or inadequacy of marks.
(p) Latent defects not discoverable by due diligence.
(q) Any other cause arising without the actual fault or privity of the carrier, or without the fault or neglect
of the agents or servants of the carrier, but the burden of proof shall be on the person claiming the
benefit of this exception to show that neither the actual fault or privity of the carrier nor the fault or
neglect of the agents or servants of the carrier contributed to the loss or damage.
3. The shipper shall not be responsible for loss or damage by the carrier or the ship arising or resulting from any
cause without the act, fault or neglect of the shipper, his agents or his servants.
4. Any deviation in saving or attempting to save life or property at sea or any reasonable deviation shall not be
deemed to be an infringement or breach of these Rules or of the contract of carriage, and the carrier shall not be liable
for any loss or damage resulting therefrom.
5. (a) Unless the nature and value of such goods have been declared by the shipper before shipment and
inserted in the bill of lading, neither the carrier nor the ship shall in any event be or become liable for
any loss or damage to or in connection with the goods in an amount exceeding 666.67 units of account
per package or unit or 2 units of account per kilogram of gross weight of the goods lost or damaged,
whichever is the higher.
(b) The total amount recoverable shall be calculated by reference to the value of such goods at the place
and time at which the goods are discharged from the ship in accordance with the contract or should
have been so discharged.
The value of the goods shall be fixed according to the commodity exchange price, or, if there be no
such price, according to the current market price, or, if there be no commodity exchange price or
current market price, by reference to the normal value of goods of the same kind and quality.
(c) Where a container, pallet or similar article of transport is used to consolidate goods, the number of
packages or units enumerated in the bill of lading as packed in such article of transport shall be
Cap 462 - CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA ORDINANCE 6
deemed the number of packages or units for the purpose of this paragraph as far as these packages or
units are concerned. Except as aforesaid such article of transport shall be considered the package or
(d) The unit of account mentioned in this article is the special drawing right as defined by the International
Monetary Fund. The amounts mentioned in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph shall be converted into
national currency on the basis of the value of that currency on a date to be determined by the law of the
Court seized of the case.
(e) Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be entitled to the benefit of the limitation of liability provided for
in this paragraph if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act or omission of the carrier done
with intent to cause damage, or recklessly and with knowledge that damage would probably result.
(f) The declaration mentioned in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, if embodied in the bill of lading,
shall be prima facie evidence, but shall not be binding or conclusive on the carrier.
(g) By agreement between the carrier, master or agent of the carrier and the shipper other maximum
amounts than those mentioned in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph may be fixed, provided that no
maximum amount so fixed shall be less than the appropriate maximum mentioned in that
(h) Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible in any event for loss or damage to, or in connection
with, goods if the nature or value thereof has been knowingly mis-stated by the shipper in the bill of
6. Goods of an inflammable, explosive or dangerous nature to the shipment whereof the carrier, master or
agent of the carrier has not consented with knowledge of their nature and character, may at any time before discharge
be landed at any place, or destroyed or rendered innocuous by the carrier without compensation and the shipper of
such goods shall be liable for all damages and expenses directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from such
shipment. If any such goods shipped with such knowledge and consent shall become a danger to the ship or cargo,
they may in like manner be landed at any place, or destroyed or rendered innocuous by the carrier without liability on
the part of the carrier except to general average, if any.
ARTICLE IV BIS
1. The defences and limits of liability provided for in these Rules shall apply in any action against the carrier
in respect of loss or damage to goods covered by a contract of carriage whether the action be founded in contract or in
2. If such an action is brought against a servant or agent of the carrier (such servant or agent not being an
independent contractor), such servant or agent shall be entitled to avail himself of the defences and limits of liability
which the carrier is entitled to invoke under these Rules.
3. The aggregate of the amounts recoverable from the carrier, and such servants and agents, shall in no case
exceed the limit provided for in these Rules.
4. Nevertheless, a servant or agent of the carrier shall not be entitled to avail himself of the provisions of this
article, if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act or omission of the servant or agent done with intent to cause
damage or recklessly and with knowledge that damage would probably result.
A carrier shall be at liberty to surrender in whole or in part all or any of his rights and immunities or to increase
any of his responsibilities and obligations under these Rules, provided such surrender or increase shall be embodied in
the bill of lading issued to the shipper. The provisions of these Rules shall not be applicable to charter parties, but if
bills of lading are issued in the case of a ship under a charter party they shall comply with the terms of these Rules.
Nothing in these Rules shall be held to prevent the insertion in a bill of lading of any lawful provision regarding
Cap 462 - CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA ORDINANCE 7
Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding articles, a carrier, master or agent of the carrier and a shipper
shall in regard to any particular goods be at liberty to enter into any agreement in any terms as to the responsibility and
liability of the carrier for such goods, and as to the rights and immunities of the carrier in respect of such goods, or his
obligation as to seaworthiness, so far as this stipulation is not contrary to public policy, or the care or diligence of his
servants or agents in regard to the loading, handling, stowage, carriage, custody, care and discharge of the goods
carried by sea, provided that in this case no bill of lading has been or shall be issued and that the terms agreed shall be
embodied in a receipt which shall be a non-negotiable document and shall be marked as such.
Any agreement so entered into shall have full legal effect.
Provided that this article shall not apply to ordinary commercial shipments made in the ordinary course of trade,
but only to other shipments where the character or condition of the property to be carried or the circumstances, terms
and conditions under which the carriage is to be performed are such as reasonably to justify a special agreement.
Nothing herein contained shall prevent a carrier or a shipper from entering into any agreement, stipulation,
condition, reservation or exemption as to the responsibility and liability of the carrier or the ship for the loss or
damage to, or in connection with, the custody and care and handling of goods prior to the loading on, and subsequent
to the discharge from, the ship on which the goods are carried by sea.
The provisions of these Rules shall not affect the rights and obligations of the carrier under any statute for the
time being in force relating to the limitation of the liability of owners of sea-going vessels.
These Rules shall not affect the provisions of any international Convention or national law governing liability
for nuclear damage.
The provisions of these Rules shall apply to every bill of lading relating to the carriage of goods between ports in
two different States if-
(a) the bill of lading is issued in a contracting State, or
(b) the carriage is from a port in a contracting State, or
(c) the contract contained in or evidenced by the bill of lading provides that these Rules or legislation of
any State giving effect to them are to govern the contract,
whatever may be the nationality of the ship, the carrier, the shipper, the consignee, or any other interested person.