Maritime Law

Page 196


Cargo Claims and Bills of Lading

Cargo Claims and Bills of Lading

Charles Debattista

Page 197

1 Cargo Claims – The General Picture

Cargo claims are brought by cargo interests against carriers when the cargo in which they have an interest is not delivered, is delivered short or is delivered damaged. Those cargo interests may be the shippers of the goods; they may be the receivers (or, in the case of non-delivery, the intended receivers) of the goods; they may be charterers or sub-charterers of the vessel on which the cargo was shipped; they may even be banks who have extended a line of credit against the security of the cargo. The carriers sued may be shipowners or charterers. Lurking behind those interests and those carriers, there will typically be insurance entities, cargo insurers or Protection and Indemnity Clubs. The terms on which the cargo interest will claim against the carrier may also vary: in some circumstances, the claim will be brought on the terms of a bill of lading – a document which comes in many shapes and forms; in other circumstances, the claim will properly be brought on the terms of a charterparty. Finally, the law governing the claim will differ according to what the relevant contract of carriage says about the choice of law and other circumstances of the particular case.

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