A shipowner will wish to use its ship to make as much profit as it can and will usually do so by chartering the ship either on a time charter or voyage charter basis. Semester one of this course will consider the basic obligations which you would expect to find in any charterparty such as the shipowner’s obligation of seaworthiness, the obligation not to deviate and the charterer’s obligation to nominate a safe port, before turning to consider time charterparties and voyage charterparties, and their differences, in greater depth. The standard form contracts in common use will be studied, as will the international conventions, such as the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, which may be incorporated voluntarily in to those contracts. The principles of general commercial contract law, such as frustration, remedies for breach, remoteness of damage, and assessment of damages have often been developed in the area of carriage of goods by sea. They continue to be developed in this area partly as a result of the market crash in the autumn of 2008.
Semester two of this course considers the bill of lading issued for the carriage of goods by sea. The three functions of the bill of lading as receipt, evidence of the contract of carriage and document of title, will be studied. Whether any of the international conventions such as the Hague, Hague-Visby or Hamburg Rules apply mandatorily to the bill of lading will be considered and if the Hague-Visby Rules do, the substantive rules as to liability, exceptions, limitation of liability and time bar are studied. Issues such as the identity of the parties to the bill of lading and whether they have title to sue are explored.