The Maritime Advocate–Issue 727



1. Returning to those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear–Hague Rules
2 .Britannia’s Regional Direction
3. Fires and Explosions in Containers
4. Wan Hai and Bolero
5. Best Books on Ice
6. People and Places


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1. Returning to those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear–Hague Rules

Mike Ryan. the editor of the Cargo Newsletter of the US MLA’s Committee on Carriage of Goods has sent us a copy of his highly readable Newsletter (Issue 71–Spring 2018–BIMCO Edition), pausing to note that not even fires in the Napa valley could keep the newsletter from appearing. Here is an extract:-

A shipment of fish oil was carried from Iceland to Norway on board a tanker vessel pursuant to a charter party. On arrival at the discharge port, about 547 metric tons were found to be damaged. The disponent-owner/defendant claimed it was entitled to limit liability pursuant to Article IV, Rule 5 of the Hague Rules (some £54,730.9). Cargo claimants took the position that no limitation applied and the value of the goods lost was $367,836.

Judge Sir Jeremy Cooke (sitting as a Judge of the High Court) held that the term “unit,”as contained in the Hague Rules of 1924, did not include bulk cargo. Thus, the disponent owner/defendant was not entitled to limit liability as per Article VI, Rule 5.

On appeal, Lord Justice Flaux essentially followed the path chosen by the Court of first instance, referring to the Travaux Preparatoiers for the Hague Rules, authorities, both English and Commonwealth, as well as others, and textbooks and academic commentators

The decision of Lord Justice Flaux (consisting of 101 paragraphs), dismissed the appeal with Lord Justice Richards and Lady Justice Gloster (also on the panel) agreeing.

Sea Tank Shipping AS v. Vinnlustodin HF et ano.; Court of Appeals (Civil Division), [2018] EWCA Civ 276; Decision of Lady Justice Gloster, Lord Justice David Richards, and Lord Justice Flaux, dated February 22, 2018.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: It is strongly suggested the reader review the full decision of Lord Justice Faux. Essentially, it tracks the decision of Sir Jeremy Cooke below; however, it is respectfully submitted that there appears to be a basis for the proposition that the Hague Rules were intended to include bulk shipments.

For example, review of the Travaux Preparatoiers would indicate that the bulk carriers (referred to then as “tramp” carriers) constituted a major portion of shipping tonnage and also considered as being significant (perhaps necessary?) participants in the formation of the Hague Rules. [The delegates included representatives from ship owners, cargo interests, insurance
companies, bankers, who met to fashion a regime which would be uniform and essentially acceptable to all.]

It would seem somewhat illogical that bulk carriers would be considered important contributors to the formation of the Rules, yet then deny them access to the protective clauses which ultimately were an agreed consensus of the various interests attending and participating in forming such compromise regime.

Further, paragraphs 50/51 of the decision refers to the issue of limitation being discussed in Brussels in October of 1922 and a year later in Brussels.

Paragraph 50 notes a comment by Mr. Bagge, the Swedish delegate, recalling that Sir Norman Hill had stated Article IV, Rule 5 should not apply to bulk cargoes.

Neither paragraph 50 nor 51 contain the comments of Mr. Bagge made a year subsequent in 1923. His recollection of Sir Norman Hill’s remarks was to the opposite.

Paragraph 51 makes reference to the further comments of Judge Hough (acting as chairman) in opposition to Mr. Bagge’s comment as to bulk cargo.

Such occurred over 90 years ago and it seems highly unlikely that the issue involved would be made the subject of further litigation at this point in time.In 1968, the Visby Amendments to the Hague Rules came into effect which, admittedly,
include limitation for bulk shipments by virtue of the alternative coverage based on weight. At the same time, it remains possible that charter parties/bills of lading may well make reference to the Hague Rules of 1924 and face the issue with which the AQASIA was concerned. Perhaps any remedial efforts might consider the possibility mentioned by Lord Justice
Flaux in his paragraph 97: “the appellant could have protected itself by seeking to incorporate in the charter party some form of deeming provision giving Article IV, Rule 5 and ‘unit’ a different meaning.…”]

Copies of this Newsletter may be requested from:-


2. Britannia’s Regional Direction

The Britannia P&I Club announces unmistakable regional leanings. The firm sometimes known as Everblue accounts for a sixth of the Club these days and has perhaps prompted the Club to have its own office in Copenhagen. Here is what they have to say:-

Britannia underlined its commitment to the important Danish P&I market by hosting a reception to mark the official opening and launch of its newly appointed Exclusive Correspondent based in Copenhagen, B Denmark P&I.

The reception was held at B Denmark P&I’s offices in the heart of Copenhagen’s shipping district, Hellerup. In attendance was John Ridgway and Andrew Cutler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer respectively of Tindall Riley (Britannia) Limited, Managers of The Britannia P&I Club, along with B Denmark P&I Managing Director, Michael Boje-Larsen.

Mr Boje-Larsen is a lawyer with considerable experience in maritime law and has previously worked both for another IG Group P&I Club and in private practice. He has worked for over 20 years in the insurance sector and was seconded to open a competitors Greek office in the early 2000’s, adding a unique set of skills to the team.

Britannia opened the office in Copenhagen to enhance its service delivery and growth potential in Denmark which currently accounts for 16% of its business. The expansion into Denmark also reaffirms previous comments from the Club about having offices in strategic locations to ensure the Membership receives the best service possible in a timely manner.

It is a significant move and follows previous announcements by the Club including the acquisition of their Exclusive Correspondents in Japan of April 2017, Hong Kong in June 2018, Singapore in September 2018, and the opening of a Greek office in Autumn 2018.

(The knack of running an effective regional mutual operation is to see your organisation as one long corridor spanning your offices around the globe, offering where possible the same standard and range of service as once upon a time was only available in the centre. Britannia’s moves may indicate how the Drang nach Fenchurch Street tendency in P&I is ebbing. Maybe it will help to reverse some of the decline of London vis a vis the Scandinavian competition–ed)


3. Fires and Explosions in Containers

The editor of TT Talk, Peregrine Storrs-Fox has sent in the latest edition of the Club’s zine (One of your editor’s early forays into e-mail newsletters–set up in late 1999 and still going strong]. He writes:-

This bumper edition focuses primarily on dangerous goods issues and is an echo of the concerns being presented to IMO (International Maritime Organization) at its safety subcommittee meetings.. TT Club has collaborated with ICHCA in order to make the attached submission, continuing the campaign to improve safety in the freight supply chain. In addition, there are articles on storm risks and a clarification on time bars on misdelivered cargo.

Read the newsletter in full here:-


4. Wan Hai and Bolero

Joanna Elliott has sent in the latest chapter in the long farewell between international trade and paper documents. Bolero has announced it has teemed up with Wan Hai, the Asia regional shipping giant, which has executed its first electronic bill of lading (eBL) for a large shipment of polyester filament from Taiwan to China. Here is the text of the release:-

Executed using the Bolero ePresentation solution on behalf of Wan Hai’s customer, a Singapore-based subsidiary of a global chemicals and fibres producer, the eBL speeded up release of the cargo, removed requirements for a letter of indemnity and enabled all parties to transact with greater confidence.

The transaction involved two banks and transmission of documentation between Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, facilitating rapid surrender of the cargo for processing in China while avoiding the delays caused by traditional paper bills of lading on shorter routes. The speed and security of Bolero’s solution meant that the time to complete the transaction was significantly reduced from days to hours.

“Executing this multi-national transaction was an important milestone for us,” said Randy Chen, Vice -Chairman, Wan Hai Lines. “It not only decreased the end to end shipment time but also increased the security and confidence level for our customer and their buyer. Bolero is enabling us to achieve our ambition of streamlining multi-national workflows, reducing costs for our customers and providing much-enhanced security. This partnership gives us stronger operational capabilities and reinforces our strategy of continuous growth.”

“We are delighted to be partnering with Wan Hai Lines,” said Ian Kerr, CEO, Bolero International. “Despite the potential complications of this transaction involving Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China and two banks, the eBL still arrived in time to enable rapid release of the cargo. The Bolero solution out-performs traditional paper processes even for first-time users. For short shipments it is all too easy for delays in the documentation to cause unnecessary costs as goods cannot be released as quickly as possible.

“With an unrivalled set of carriers, banks and corporates using our platform we are taking the lead in digitisation in international trade.”

[Your editor first became excited by the idea of electronic bills of lading back in the mid 1990s, a time when the TT Club and Swift were pushing this particular stone uphill with the gusto of converts. Shifting the stones of conservatism in shipping and international trade is still an imposing task consuming energy, belief and money in abundance]


5. Best Books on Ice

We subscribe to a rather good literary blog called Five Books which interviews people and asks them to recommend books on a certain subject. Ice and humanity have always been close partners, says Mark Serreze, director of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center. But this relationship is changing fast as polar ice melts. Here he selects five books that fed his fascination. Highly recommended if, like your editor, you have never been able to understand the meaning of melting in our time.


6. People and Places

Independent Lloyd’s broker AFL Insurance Brokers Ltd (AFL) has been selected as the Insurance Partner for the online Trade SSA platform. Launched this year as an initiative from Africa House London and Africa Trade Ltd, Trade SSA is a digital trade and investment platform designed to automatically connect users with buyers, suppliers and distributors throughout Africa and the UK.


Maersk Tankers has recruited Danske Bank executiver Morten Mosegaard Christensen as its new chief financial officer. The appointment comes at time of significant transformation at the product tanker owner.


DLA Piper in New Zealand has promoted two new partners, Brad Cuff and Misha Henaghan. Both are experienced litigators, with in-depth backgrounds in insurance law.

Misha Henaghan acts for clients across the New Zealand insurance industry. She has experience in the District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. Her background spans: assisting medical practitioners in complaints; coronial inquiries; disciplinary proceedings; professional negligence claims involving brokers, construction professionals, accountants and lawyers; product and public liability, and regulatory work (including investigations).

Brad Cuff is a solicitor of the High Court (Australia); Supreme Court of New South Wales; and Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. He also holds qualifications in Business Studies and Corporate Governance.

Brad has extensive experience in insurance and civil litigation in Australia and New Zealand, often dealing with those countries’ most contentious disputes. His background acting for clients includes: litigation, arbitration, investigations, disputes, inquests and disciplinary proceedings. He also has insight from a client perspective following an in-house counsel position in a multi-national insurer in Australia.


Garry Whyte

CakeBoxx, manufacturers of the uniquely secure deck and lid, two part, door-less shipping containers, has announced the death of Garry Whyte, the company’s founder and the visionary behind the ground breaking flagship product. In eulogising his friend, Daine Eisold, CEO of CakeBoxx said:-

“Garry was a patriot, a veteran, an optimist and so much more. He had a mountainous intellect and was marvellously curious, with a unique perspective of how things worked, or should work, that most can never know. “Truly visionary and pragmatic, Garry envisioned the CakeBoxx concept after years of practical engineering and problem-solving experience, somehow seeded by early memories of waterfront activities on the docks in Portland, Oregon. Garry and I built the first CakeBoxx container together. Every day I spent with Garry was like a day in advanced problem-solving class, where I became accustomed to asking myself ‘why didn’t I think of that?’

[Source: Handy Shipping Guide]


From the Avo Archive

The website of this newsletter contains all the editorial material since the inception of the Maritime Advocate as a print based quarterly in 1997 under the founding aegis of John Guy, Chris Hewer and Manfred Arnold. Readers can go to the site and search the database on the home page in its entirety. If you are looking for an old case, an old controversy or you would just like to see how many times you and your firm have featured in our annals feel free to access the archive. It is like this e-zine, free to Readers and we always appreciate the support of advertisers and sponsors.

Looking for references to e-mail newsletters in the archive which as e-zines were still considered rather fast by many maritimos we ran across this intesting item in Issue 185 of 7th December 2004

Sour taste

A HAPLESS Venezuelan exporter of citrus fruit has been revealed as one of the first people to be trapped by the rigorous US enforcement of the ISPS code. It is assumed he was the victim of a malicious hoax.

Five containerloads of lemons were shipped from La Guaira to Newark but, while the ship was still at sea, the US Coast Guard received an anonymous tip-off alleging that the fruit was contaminated by an unknown biological agent. Even though there was no corroboration for this information, the USCG took no chances. The ship was held at anchor for almost a week while the coastguard undertook extensive checks, none of which revealed the presence of any biological hazard. The ship was eventually allowed to berth under supervision.

The containers were screened using the customs’ latest technology and were then fumigated with chlorine dioxide to destroy any biological agents that might have been present. The lemons were then destroyed at a local incinerator. The coastguard originally considered destroying the refrigerated containers as well, but relented and allowed the containers back into service.

The TT Club, writing in its latest “TT Talk” newsletter, says, “It is alas a sign of the times that, whereas a few years ago, such a tip-off might have led to a thorough screening of the consignment by public health officials, the current ‘take no risks whatsoever’ attitude means that perfectly healthy cargo has to be destroyed, as well as, perhaps, some uncontaminated – but rather expensive – containers on the basis of uncorroborated information. The kids who once got their kicks by making hoax calls to the fire station can now graduate to a bigger and more expensive stage on which to exercise their misguided talents.


Things to Love About Work

Quote from a recent meeting: ‘We are going to continue having these meetings, everyday, until I find out why no work is getting done’.

Quote from the Boss… ‘I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame it on you.’

A motivational sign at work: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

A direct quote from the Boss: ‘We passed over a lot of good people to get the ones we hired.’

My Boss frequently gets lost in thought. That’s because it’s unfamiliar territory.

My Boss said to me ‘ What you see as a glass ceiling, I see as a protective barrier.’

My Boss needs a surge protector. That way his mouth would be buffered from surprise spikes in his brain.

I thought my Boss was a bastard, and quit, to work for myself. My new Boss is a bastard, too … but at least I respect him.

He’s given automobile accident victims new hope for recovery. He walks, talks and performs rudimentary tasks, all without the benefit of a SPINE.

Some people climb the ladder of success. My Boss walked under it.

Quote from the Boss after overriding the decision of a task force he created to find a solution: ‘ I’m sorry if I ever gave you the impression your input would have any effect on my decision for the outcome of this project!’

HR Manager to job candidate ‘I see you’ve had no computer training. Although that qualifies you for upper management, it means you’re under-qualified for our entry level positions.

‘Quote from telephone inquiry ‘We’re only hiring one summer intern this year and we won’t start interviewing candidates for that position until the Boss’ daughter finishes her summer classes.’

[Paul Dixon]


Statements by Job Candidates as reported by Fortune Magazine

1. I demand a salary commiserate with my extensive experience.

2. I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreadsheet progroms.

3. Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.

4. Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave.

5. Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.

6. Its best for employers that I not work with people.

7. Lets meet, so you can ooh and aah over my experience.

8. You will want me to be Head Honcho in no time.

9. Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.

10. I was working for my mom until she decided to move.

11. Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.

12. Marital status: single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved. No Commitments.

13. I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.


Thanks for Reading the Maritime Advocate online

Maritime Advocate Online is a weekly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to legal issues and dispute resolution. It is published to over 21 000 individual subscribers each week and republished within firms and organisations all over the maritime world. It is the largest publication of its kind. We estimate it goes to around 60 000 Readers in over 120 countries.