Cap 140.fm CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA [CAP. 140. 1
CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA ACT To make provision in respect of the Carriage of Goods by Sea.
(17th December, 1954)*
ACT XI of 1954 as amended by Acts XI of 1973 and XIII of 1983; and Legal Notice 409 of 2007.
Short title.1. The short title of this Act is the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act.
Interpretation.2. In this Act "the Rules" means the rules relating to bills of lading, set out in the Schedule to this Act.
Application of the Rules. Cap. 13.
3. Notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary contained in the Commercial Code, the Rules shall have effect, subject to the provisions of this Act, in relation to and in connection with the carriage of goods by sea in any vessel used for that purpose and carrying goods from Malta to any other port, but not if such vessel is carrying goods within the limits of Malta, that is from one island to the other or from one part of an island to another part of the same island.
No implied war- ranty of seaworthi- ness.
4. 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 vessel.
Statement as to applicability of the Rules to be included in bills of lading.
5. Every bill of lading or similar document of title, issued in Malta, which contains or is evidence of any contract to which the Rules apply, shall contain an express statement that it is to have effect subject to the provisions of the said Rules as applied by this Act.
Modification of rules 4 and 5 of Article III of the Rules in relation to bulk cargoes.
6. Where under the usages of any trade the weight of any bulk cargo inserted in the bill of lading is a weight ascertained or accepted by a third party other than the carrier or the shipper and the fact that the weight is so ascertained or accepted is stated in the bill of lading, then, notwithstanding anything in the Rules, the bill of lading shall not be deemed to be prima facie evidence against the carrier of the receipt of goods of the weight so inserted in the bill of lading, and the accuracy thereof at the time of shipment shall not be deemed to have been guaranteed by the shipper.
Saving clause. Substituted by: XI. 1973.377. Cap. 234.
7. Nothing in this Act shall affect the operation of sections 286 to 291, both included, and of Part IX of the Merchant Shipping Act, or the operation of any other enactment, for the time being in force, limiting the liability of shipowners.
Operation of the Rules.
8. The Rules shall not by virtue of this Act apply to any contract for the carriage of goods by sea made before the 1st January, 1955, nor to any bill of lading or similar document of title issued, whether before or after that day, in pursuance of any such
*See Government Notice No. 571 of 18th December, 1954.
2 CAP. 140.] CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA
contract as aforesaid.
Amended by: XIII. 1983.5.
Rules Relating To Bills Of Lading ARTICLE I
Definitions In these Rules the following expressions have the meanings
hereby assigned to them respectively, that is to say: "carriage of goods" covers the period from the time when the
goods are loaded on to the time when they are discharged from the ship;
"carrier" includes the owner or the charterer who enters into a contract of carriage with a shipper;
"contract of carriage" 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;
"goods" includes goods, wares, merchandises, 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;
"ship" means any vessel used for the carriage of goods by sea.
Risks 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.
Responsibilities and Liabilities 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;
CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA [CAP. 140. 3
(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.
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 carr ier of the goods as therein descr ibed in accordance with paragraph 3 (a), (b) and (c).
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 car r ie r to such indemni ty sha l l in no way l imi t h is responsibility and liability under the contract of carriage to any person other than the shipper.
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 lading.
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
4 CAP. 140.] CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA
inspection. In any event the carrier and the ship shall be discharged from all
liability in respect of loss or damage unless suit is brought within one year after delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered.
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.
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 the same shall for the purposes 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 or similar clause shall be deemed to be a clause relieving the carrier from liability.
Rights and Immunities. 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 section.
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
CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA [CAP. 140. 5
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 lock-outs 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 the goods;
(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 sustained 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. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall in any event be or become liable for any loss or damage to or in connection with goods in an amount exceeding two hundred and thirty-two euro and ninety-four cents (232.94) per package or unit, or the equivalent of that sum in other currency, unless the nature and value of such goods have been declared by the shipper before shipment and
6 CAP. 140.] CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA
inserted in the bill of lading. This declaration if embodied in the bill of lading shall be prima
facie evidence, but shall not be binding or conclusive on the carrier. By agreement between the carrier, master or agent of the carrier
and the shipper another maximum amount than that mentioned in this paragraph may be fixed, provided that such maximum shall not be less than the figure above named.
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 misstated by the shipper in the bill of lading.
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.
Surrender of Rights and Immunities, and Increases of Responsibilities and Liabilities
A carrier shall be at liberty to surrender in whole or in part all or any of his r ights and immunit ies or to increase any of h is responsibilities and liabilities under the Rules contained in any of these Articles, 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 general average.
Special Conditions 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
CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA [CAP. 140. 7
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.
Limitations on the Application of the Rules Nothing herein contained shall prevent a carrier or a shipper
f rom en ter ing in to any agreement , s t ipula t ion , cond i t ion , 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.
Limitation of Liability 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.
The monetary units mentioned in these Rules are to be taken to be gold value.