Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thyssen Inc v The Eurounity case brief

Thyssen Inc v The Eurounity case brief summary
Court of appeals, Second Circuit, 1994

Facts
  • Thyssen and Associated are importers of steel products.
  • They purchased a quantity of hot rolled steel in Europe for the purpose of resale and made arrangements to ship the steel from Belgium to Savannah and Houston aboard the vessel.
  • Atlantic Lines, the charterer of the vessel, issued the bol.
  • The bol included notation that the steel was “rust stained, partly rust stained and wet before shipment”.
  • Prior to the loading of the vessel, Atlantic Lines had entered into a charter party with Licetus, the owner of the vessel.
  • Licetus warranted that the vessel was in a thoroughly efficient condition.
  • Licetus guaranteed that the vessel’s hatch was watertight.
  • The charter party also included that claims for loss or damage to the cargo due to unseaworthiness would be 100% owners and claims for damage due to bad stowage or handling would be 100% charterers.
  • The vessel encountered a storm and water entered the cargo holds.

Ruling Liability:
  • Peril of the sea: a peril of the sea occurs when conditions are of an extraordinary nature or arise from irresistible force or overwhelming power, and which cannot be guarded against by the ordinary exertions of human skill and prudence.
  • There isn’t a general standard to determine peril of the sea, it’s dependant upon the facts of each case.
  • In this case the weather conditions were not unusual in the wintertime in the North Atlantic. The weather conditions were foreseeable and the wind, waves and cross-seas were to be expected, therefore the vessel has not proven that it is entitled to exoneration based on a peril of the sea.

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