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Transportation by sea

The protocol, signed in Brussels in 1968, was an attempt to broaden the horizon of the Hague Rules of 1924, and is applicable to any Bill of Lading (or similar document of title) relating to the carriage of goods between ports of different states, provided that:-

(i) the document of title is issued in a contracting state, or

(ii) the carriage is from a port in a contracting state, or

(iii) the contract for carriage expressly dictates that the Hague-Visby Rules shall apply.

The difficulty is that although most European states are party to these Rules, there are a large number of countries, such as the U.S.A., which remain party to the more restrictive Hague Rules of 1924.

Under the Hague-Visby Rules the carrier must correctly, and with care, handle, load, stow, carry and discharge the goods. Liability may still however be denied in respect of losses/damages caused by strikes, inherent vice, and fire, perils, dangers and accidents of the sea. The carrier must accurately record the cargo carried, detailing condition of the goods, and/or weights, quantities, number of packages, but in this respect the exporters have the ultimate responsibility for the provision of accurate information to the carrier.

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