Shipshape and Bristol fashion?
The concept of 'seaworthiness' is fundamental in maritime law. But it is still under discussion as to what actually constitutes a ship being 'unseaworthy' and who should be held responsible, say Richard Lord and John Reed
Seaworthiness has been a concept central to maritime law for centuries and it might be believed that its meaning and scope were settled. This is not the case, however, and it remains as important and as topical as ever.In modern times, what is of central importance is not so much the old absolute implied term as to seaworthiness but the carrier’s obligation, under Article III, rule 1 of the Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, before and at the beginning of the voyage, to exercise ‘due diligence’ to make the ship seaworthy, properly man, equip and supply the ship and to make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers, and any other part that carries goods, fit and safe for their reception, carriage and preservation.Three important questions arise, namely: what constitutes unseaworthiness? What are the limits of due diligence? What is the impact of the new International Safety Management (ISM) code?
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