The Aqasia: Carrier cannot limit liability under the Hague Rules for loss or damage to bulk cargo

It is now settled under English law that the package limitation of the Hague Rules does not apply to bulk cargoes.  The Commercial Court refused to let a contractual carrier limit his liability in respect of damage to a cargo described as ‘Icelandic Fishoil in bulk – 2.056.926 kgs’.

The Hague Rules in Article IV Rule 5 provide a basis for limitation by reference to “package or unit” and do not contain the alternative weight limitation found in the Hague-Visby Rules.  While it was already established that the word “package” in the phrase “per package or unit” in the Hague Rules could not apply to bulk cargoes “A package is undoubtedly a physical item”, Sir Jeremy Cooke held that the word “unit” could not do so either.  “Unit” meant a physical unit for shipment and not a unit of measurement such as a metric ton, kilogram, cubic metre, a bushel or a barrel.  Accordingly, there was no basis upon which this bulk cargo could be subject to limitation. 

The full citation of this judgement is Vinnlustodin HF & another v Sea Tank Shipping AS [2016] EWHC 2514 (Comm)

BDM is a specialist shipping law firm offering high quality legal advice and representation at a reasonable price. Please follow us on social media by clicking below.

Other Recent Blogs

  • Anti Suit Injunctions What are they and when can you get one | BDM Blog | BDM Law
    March 6, 2024

    Anti Suit Injunctions – What are they and when can you get one?

    Recently, we have been advising clients on a possible anti-suit injunction (ASI) against proceedings commenced in breach of an exclusive jurisdiction clause. On the back of that, we felt it might be useful to release this blog to shed more light on these injunctions, in part[...]

    Read more >
  • Red Sea To go or not to go | BDM Blog | BDM Law
    February 21, 2024

    Red Sea: To go or not to go?

    The world is adjusting to the new reality of ships refusing to run the risk of being targeted by missiles launched by Houthi rebels. Over 50 ships have now been targeted with some seriously damaged. So far, no crew have been killed or injured. However, the risks remain. It[...]

    Read more >
  • BDM partners ranked once again in Who's Who Legal Transport 2024 | BDM Blog | BDM Law
    February 19, 2024

    BDM partners ranked once again in “Who’s Who Legal: Transport 2024”

    Our founding partners have once again been listed as among the world’s leading shipping law practitioners in the Who’s Who Legal: Transport 2024 report. Congratulations to David, Nick and Bob! They commented: “We are very happy to be again recognized in this public[...]

    Read more >
+44 203 968 0500
+44 7887 710 950