The carrier's liability under international maritime conventions (The Hague, Hague-Visby and Hamburg rules)

Karan, Hakan (1999) The carrier's liability under international maritime conventions (The Hague, Hague-Visby and Hamburg rules). Doctoral thesis, London Guildhall University.


The research centres on the sea carrier's liability for loss of or damage to goods under convention based regimes. The unification, clarification and simplification of national laws regulating maritime trade have always been targets of lawyers and business people who would like to be aware of their possible legal risks in their contracts performed by sea. With these aim, three conventions were prepared: the Hague, Hague-Visby and Hamburg Rules. They with different texts and legislative styles have become the main reason for lack of uniformity in the field of the carriage of goods by sea today. In this thesis, what requirements were made them necessary are explained, and if there were any needs for other conventions is answered.

The carrier's liabilities under the three Conventions are also identified, evaluated and compared. The conditions of such liabilities and exemption therefrom are determined. Whether the Rules cause any uncertainty and need clarifications, and whether they keep up with the technological and economic developments in the world are investigated.

After all these studies it is concluded that there are no substantial differences between the Hague and Hamburg liability regimes except the archaic nautical fault and fire exemptions, and that the latter, which contain all the amendments of the Visby and SDR Protocols, were more clearly drafted by taking the needs of modem trade into consideration and have brought the regime into line with other Conventions relating to other modes of transport. It should, therefore, be the convention on carriage by sea.

Nevertheless, it is also found that the Hamburg Rules needs some clarification to minor extent, and some amendments thereto are suggested in the thesis. With this strength, especially Articles 5 and 6 of the Hamburg Rules are revised as requiring from the carrier to prove the exempted occurrence which caused the loss and to exercise the degree of care expected from the prudent carrier to avoid the occurrence and its consequences, as amending the burden of proving the fault of the carrier, his servants or agents in favour of the cargo interest, and as changing the limitation measures and unit of accounts.

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