Hague Visby rules – excepted perils under Article IV – connection between expressly stipulated exceptions and barratry examined
Fire broke out in the engine room of the vessel en route to Houston, USA from Taman, Russia. The vessel was carrying fuel oil. The fire was put out and salvors were engaged to tow the vessel to Las Palmas.
General average was declared. Salvors claimed remuneration from both cargo interests and vessel owners in arbitration proceedings.
Cargo sought to recover salvage and legal costs from the vessel owners.
It was assumed for the purposes of deciding two preliminary points that the fire was started deliberately by the chief engineer while he may have been suffering from an unknown mental condition.
The questions were: whether the chief engineer’s actions amounted to barratry, and if so, whether Article IV 2b (Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible for loss or damage arising or resulting from fire unless caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier) and 2q (Any other cause arising without the actual fault or privity of the carrier or without the fault or neglect of the agents or servants of the carrier…) protected the owners from Iiability.
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