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that they are to be delivered in like good order and condition. It is generally qualified by adding at the foot or in the margin "weight, contents or value unknown," or words to the like effect. The owners and master will then not be liable for any inaccurate statements as to the weight, contents and value of the goods shipped (b). But if the goods were to all appearance shipped in good condition, and they arrive damaged, the onus will be on the owners or master to establish the contrary (c). The effect of a contract for conveyance in a general ship Liability of
owner of a is to make the owner liable as a common carrier. He, in
general ship fact, becomes an insurer of the goods carried (d).
as to goods
carried. It follows, therefore, that he will be liable for
loss or damage to the goods carried, provided the loss or damage be not occasioned by the act of God, the king's enemies, or by any defect in the thing carried (e).
Though a special clause in a bill of lading free the shipowner from liability, even in respect of loss or damage induced by the act or negligence of his servants, the onus will be on him to prove that the loss was caused by their default or negligence (f). In any event the shipowner is bound to provide a seaworthy vessel (9). A bill of lading must bear a 6d. stamp. It cannot be Stamp on
bills of lading stamped after execution (h).
Executing a bill of lading, whether unstamped or improperly stamped, is punishable with a fine of 501. (-). The terms of a bill of lading cannot be varied by parol Custom of
trade. (0) Jessel v. Bath, L. R., 2 Ex. of his liability. 267; see “ Cases” (3), at end of (f) Chartered Merc. Bank of India this į ; Steel v. The State Line v. Netherlands Steam Navigation Co., Steamship Co., 3 App. Cas. 72. 9 Q.B. D. 118; 51 L. J., Q. B. 393;
(c) The Peter der Grosse, 1 P. D. 46 L. T. 530; see “ Cases" (2) at 414; and on appeal, 3 Asp. M. C. end of this g. 195.
(9) Steel v. The State Line Steam(d) Nugent v. Smith, 1 C. P. D. ship Co., 3 App. Cas. 72. 423; see “Cases" (1) at end of (1) 33 & 34 Vict. c. 97, s. 56 and this g.
sched. (e) But see Ch. X. $ 67, pp. 107, (0) 16. 108, as to the statutory limitation
evidence, though evidence of custom or usage of trade is admissible to explain the terms (k).
NOTES.—The usual form of a bill of lading is the following:J. S. “Shipped in good order by A. B., merchant, in and No. 1 upon the good ship called the Betsey Jane, whereof C. D. is to 10.) master, now riding at anchor in the river Thames, and bound for Valparaiso in Chili, ten bales containing thirty pieces of silk, marked and numbered as per margin, and are to be delivered in the like good order and condition at Valparaiso aforesaid (the act of God, the king's enemies, fire and all and every other dangers and accidents of the seas, rivers and navigation, of whatsoever nature and kind soever excepted) unto E. F., merchant there or his assigns, he or they paying freight for the said goods —
per piece freight, with primage and average accustomed. In witness whereof, the master or purser of the said ship hath affirmed to three bills of lading of this tenor and date; one of which bills being accomplished, the other two to stand void. DATED at London, the 9th day of March, 1880."
CASES. 1. The defendant, a common carrier by sea from London to Aberdeen, received a mare to be carried to Aberdeen for hire. During the voyage the mare died in consequence of the injuries she received, which were occasioned partly by the rough weather and partly by her own conduct during it, without any negligence on the part of the defendant's servants. Held, that the defendant was not liable for the death of the mare (1).
2. Goods were shipped on board defendant's vessel, the Crown Prince, under a bill of lading, which contained an exception of “collision and accidents, loss or damage from any act, neglect or default whatsoever of the pilots, master or mariners or other servants of the company in
vigating the hip.” During the voyage the ship came into collision with another vessel belonging to the defendants. The collision was due to negligence, for which the latter vessel was principally to blame, though the Crown Prince was also in some degree in fault. Held, that the defendants, not having shown that the loss was caused wholly by the neglect or default of their servants on the Crown Prince, were liable (m).
(k) Greaves v. Legg, 11 Ex. 642 ; (1) Nugent v. Smith, 1 C. P. D. Russian Steam Nav. Co. v. Silva,
19, 423. 13 C. B., N. S. 610; see “ Cases" (m) Chartered Mero. Bank of India (4) at end of this $; and see Ch. v. Netherlands India Steam NavigaVII. § 38, p. 52.
tion Co., 9 Q. B. D. 118; 51 L. J. Q. B. 393; 46 L. T. 530.
3. The charterers of a ship had ship’s agents at the ports of call. The ship's agent at Genoa signed, according to the custom, a bill of lading for manganese shipped in bulk and not weighed at the time of shipment. The bill of lading described the manganese as 34,460 kilogrammes in weight, but contained in print the words “ weight, contents and value unknown.” On delivery the manganese was found to be short of the weight stated in the bill. In an action brought by the assignee of the bill of lading for damages for nondelivery of the full weight: held, the printed words controlled the statement as to weight (n).
4. By a bill of lading wool was to be conveyed from Odessa to London, and freight was to be paid in London on delivery “at 80s. per cwt. gross weight, tallow and other goods, grain or seed in proportion as per London Baltic printed rates." Held, that it could be shown that by the custom of trade the meaning of the bill of lading was that 808. per cwt. of tallow should be the standard by which the freight on all the other goods should be estimated (0).
$ 49. The master, on being satisfied by the mate's receipt or Bills of lading otherwise that the goods are on board, must sign the bill to be signed
by master. of lading, and deliver it up to the holder of the mate's receipt, on such receipt being given back to him (p).
This is the usual course. Consequently, a shipmaster will not make the owner liable by signing bills of lading for goods never shipped; even to a bona fide indorsee for valuable consideration (9).
In some trades it is usual for the broker, and not for the shipmaster, to sign the bills of lading. In such cases the broker's signature will bind the shipowners (r).
If there be a charter-party, the master can only act conformably to its provisions. Therefore he cannot sign bills of lading, in the absence of any power in the charter-party, at a lower freight than the chartered freight (s).
Where, by the terms of a charter-party, the master is bound to sign bills of lading within a certain time under a penalty, and he refuses, but is willing to deliver up the cargo at the port of destination, the charterers cannot deduct the penalty from the freight on account of the delay in signing the bills of lading; and they will only be entitled to nominal damages for the breach of the charterparty (t).
Though the general rule is that a shipmaster in signing bills of lading acts as agent for his owners, yet under certain circumstances he will be held the agent for the charterers (u). But in all cases where the shipper does not know of the charter, the master in signing the bills of lading will be held the owners' agent (v), unless the charterparty amount to a lease of the ship. Of course if the bill of lading contain any reference to the charter-party, the shipper will be taken to know its terms and be bound thereby (w).
CASES. 1. The master of one of the defendant's ships, lying in the Hooghley and bound for London, signed a bill of lading and indorsed it to B. & Co. B. & Co. subsequently indorsed it to the plaintiffs for valuable consideration. The ship sailed and arrived at London in safety. The goods, for which the bill of lading was signed, were neper shipped on board. Held, that the defendants were not liable to the indorsees (y).
2. By a charter-party the defendants agreed to carry a cargo of coke for the plaintiffs, the master to sign the bill of lading as presented within twenty-four hours after the coke was loaded or pay 4d. per ton per day for each day's delay as damages. After the coke was loaded a bill of lading was presented to the master, who refused to sign without inserting a clause that the ship should not be liable for certain duties. Such a bill of lading being declined, none was signed. The plaintiffs accordingly insisted on deducting the penalty from the freight, whereupon the master
(t) Jones v. Hough, 5 Ex. D. 115 B. 86; The Patria, L. R., 3 A. & (C. A.); 49 L. J., Ex. 211; 42 L. E. 436; Hayn v. Culliford, 4 C. P. T. 108; see “Cases ” (2) at end of D. 182. this §.
(r) Gray v. Carr, L. R., 6 Q. B. (u) Wagstaff v. Anderson, 5 C. P. 522 ; Porteus v. Watney, 3 Q. B. D. D. 171, and per Bramwell, L. J., 534; and see $ 51, pp. 75, 76.
(y) Grant v. Norway, 10 C. B. (v) Sandeman v. Scurr, L. R., 2 Q. 665.
pp. 177, 178.
declined to deliver the cargo, though he offered to deliver it on payment of the full freight. Held, that the plaintiffs were not entitled to deduct the penalty, and that they could only recover nominal damages for the master not signing the bill of lading (2).
$ 50. The property in the goods shipped under a bill of lading The property
in the goods will, generally speaking, pass to the consignee, and à fortiori
shipped-in this rule will prevail, if the goods be shipped on board a whom. vessel chartered by the consignee (a).
If the bill of lading, instead of being made out for delivery to “A. B. or his assigns" as is usual, be made out for delivery " to order or to
assigns," it will show that the consignor, especially if he be also an unpaid vendor, intends to reserve his right of property in the goods shipped, and his right to transfer them by indorsing the bill of lading. Then the goods will remain the consignor's (1), till he indorses the bill of lading and the indorsee accepts it; and he can sell them if payment of the price be refused (c); or alter their destination (d).
Frequently the consignor forwards the bills of lading to his agent to hold till bills of exchange are accepted by the consignee. In such a case the consignor will retain his jus disponendi till the bills of exchange are accepted, or the price of the goods is paid (e).
Where a bill of lading and a bill of exchange to cover the goods comprised in the bill of lading, are sent in a letter to the vendee of the goods, the bill of lading cannot be retained unless the bill of exchange be accepted by the vendee. But should it be so retained, the bill of lading will give no right of property to the person so acquiring it (f).
(z) Jones v. Hough, 5 Ex. D. 116 (c) Ogg v. Shuter, ride sup. (C. A.); 49 L. J., Ex. 211; 42 L. (d) Ellershaw v. Magniac, 6 Ex. T. 108.
570 n.; Ogg v. Shuter, 1 C. P. D. 47. (a) Mirabita v. Imperial Ottoman (e) Turner v. Trustees of Liverpool Bank, 3 Ex. D. 164.
Docks, 6 Ex. 543; Barrow v. Coles, (6) Wait v. Baker, 2 Ex. 1; 3 Camp. 92 ; see “ Cases" (1) at Hoare v. Dresser, 7 H. L. Ca. 290; end of this s. 099 v. Shuter, 1 C. P. D. 47; (f) Shepherd v. Harrison, L. R., Mirabita v. Imperial Ottoman Bank, 5 E. & I. App. Cas. 116; see 3 Ex. D. 164; and see § 51, p. 74. “ Cases" (2) at end of this s.