18th – 19th February 2020
The Claimants (“Owners”) appeal against the Order and Judgment of Teare J dated 8 March 2019, in which he gave judgment for the Defendants (“Cargo Interests”) and dismissed Owners’ claims for contribution in general average.
The appeal concerns the obligation imposed on a carrier by Article III rule 1 of the Hague Rules to exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy and, in particular, how that obligation applies (if at all) to a one-off defective passage plan prepared by the ship’s crew. This in turns depends on fundamental issues as to (1) the dividing line between matters of navigation and matters of seaworthiness and (2) the attribution to a carrier of acts of navigation by the ship’s crew for the purposes of the carrier’s duty to exercise due diligence to make the ship seaworthy.
The Judge held that: (1) Owners’ ship “CMA CGM LIBRA” (“the Vessel”) was unseaworthy because the Master and Second Officer had prepared a defective passage plan; and (2) Owners were responsible for the Master and Second Officer’s negligent acts of navigation in that regard and therefore failed to exercise due diligence to make the Vessel seaworthy within the meaning of Article III rule 1.
Read the lower court Judgment.