492. Societe de Distributions de Toutes Merchandises En Cote D’Ivoire trading as “SDTM-CI” v Continental Lines NV (the “Sea Miror”) [2015] EWHC 1747 (Comm)

Synacomex 90 Form – allocation of risk – particular clause construed in favour of vessel owners

The Facts

Rice in bags was shipped from Karachi, Pakistan to Abidjan, Ivory Coast under bills of lading incorporating the Hague Rules and the germane terms of a voyage charterparty on a Synacomex 90 form.

Clause 5 of the standard Synacomex 90 form provided:

Cargo shall be loaded, trimmed and/or stowed at the expenses and risk of shippers / charterers at the average rate of 1,500 metric tons per weather working day … Cargo shall be discharged at the expenses and risk of receivers / charterers at the average rate of 1,500 metric tons per weather working day … Stowage shall be under Master’s direction and responsibility … Charterers and owners are allowed to work overtime, such expenses shall be for the account of the party ordering same …

On outturn there was wetting, tearing of the bags and short delivery.

Cargo interests alleged that the wording of clause 5 was insufficient to transfer liability for negligent loading and discharge to cargo interests. Ship owners accepted liability for negligent stowage.

Findings

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