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RELATING TO THE CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA.
COMMITTEE ON THE MERCHANT MARINE AND FISHERIES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, February 13, 1923. The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. William S. Greene (chairman) presiding.
The committee had under consideration the bill (H. R. 14166) relating to the carriage of goods by sea, which is as follows:
(H. R. 14166, Sixty-seventh Congress, fourth session.)
A BILL Relating to the carriage of goods by sea. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. When used in this act
(a) The term “carrier” includes the owner or the charterer of a ship who enters into a contract of carriage with a shipper.
(b) The term “contract of carriage” applies only to contracts of carriage covered by a bill of lading or any similar document of title, in so far as such document relates to the carriage of goods by sea, including any bill of lading or any similar document as aforesaid issued under or pursuant to a charter party from the moment at which such bill of lading governs the rights of the carrier and of the holder of the bill of lading
(c) The term "goods” includes goods, wares, merchandise and articles of every kind whatsoever except live animals and cargo which by the contract of carriage is stated as being carried on deck and is so carried.
(d) The term “ship” means any vessel used for the carriage of goods by sea.
(e) The term “carriage of goods” covers the period from the time when the goods are loaded on to the time they are discharged from the ship.
SEC. 2. That under every contract of carriage of goods by sea the carrier, in regard to the loading, handling, stowage, carriage, custody, care, and discharge of such goods shall be subject to the responsibilities and liabilities, and entitled to the rights and immunities set forth in sections 3 and 4.
SEC. 3. (a) The carrier shall be bound before and at the beginning of the voyage to exercise due diligence to—
1. Make the ship seaworthy;
3. Make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers, and all other parts of the ship in which goods are carried, fit and safe for their reception, carriage, and preservation.
(b) Subject to the provisions of section 4 the carrier shall properly and carefully load, handle, stow, carry, keep, care for, and discharge the goods carried.
(c) After receiving the goods into his charge the carrier or the master or agent of the carrier shall on demand of the shipper issue to the shipper a bill of lading showing amongst other things
1. The leading marks necessary for identification of the goods as the same are furnished in writing by the shipper before the loading of such goods starts, provided such marks are stamped or otherwise shown clearly upon the goods if uncovered, or on the cases or coverings in which such goods are contained, in such a manner as should ordinarily remain legible until the end of the voyage;
2. Either the number of packages or pieces, or the quantity, or weight, as the case may be, as furnished in writing by the shipper;
3. The apparent order and condition of the goods.
Přovided, That no carrier, master, or agent of the carrier shall be bound to state or show in the bill of lading any marks, number, quantity, or weight which he has reasonable ground for suspecting, nor accurately to represent the goods actually received, or which he has had no reasonable means of checking.
(d) Such a bill of lading shall be prima facie evidence of the receipt by the carrier of the goods as therein described in accordance with paragraph (C), 1, 2, and 3, of this section.
(e) The shipper shall be deemed to have guaranteed to the carrier the accuracy at the time of shipment of the marks, number, quantity, and weight, as furnished by him, and the shipper shall indemnify the carrier against all loss, damages, and expenses arising or resulting from inaccuracies in such particulars. The right of the carrier to such indemnity shall in no way limit his responsibility and liability under the contract of carriage to any person other than the shipper.
(i) Unless notice of loss or damage and the general nature of such loss or damage be given in writing to the carrier or his agent at the port of discharge before or at the time of the removal of the goods into the custody of the person entitled to delivery thereof under the contract of carriage, such removal shall be prima facie evidence of the delivery by the carrier of the goods as described in the bill of lading. If the loss or damage is not apparent, the notice must
be given within three days of the delivery of the goods. The notice in writing will not be admissible if the state of the goods has at the time of their receipt been agreed to be otherwise than as stated in the notice. In any event, the carrier and the ship shall be discharged from all liability in respect of loss or damage unless suit is brought within one year after delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered.
In the case of any actual or appreheded loss or damage the carrier and the receiver shall give all reasonable facilities to each other for inspecting and tallying the goods.
(g) After the goods are loaded the bill of lading to be issued by the carrier, master; or agent of the carrier to the shipper shall, if the shipper so demands, be a “shipped' bill of lading: Provided, That if the shipper shall have previously taken up any document of title to such goods, he shall surrender the same as against the issue of the "shipped”? bill of lading, but at the option of the carrier such document of title may be noted at the port of shipment by the carrier, master, or agent with the name or names of the ship or ships upon which the goods have been shipped and the date or dates of shipment, and when so noted the same shall, for the purpose of this paragraph, be deemed to constitute a “shipped”' bill of lading:
(h) Any clause, covenant, or agreement in a contract of carriage relieving the carrier or the ship from liability for loss or damage to, or in connection with, goods arising from negligence, fault, or failure in the duties and obligations provided in this section or lessening such liability otherwise than as provided in this act shall be null and void, and of no effect. A benefit of isurance or similar clause shall be deemed to be a clause relieving the carrier from liability.
Sec. 4. (a) Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be liable for loss or damage arising or resulting from unseaworthiness unless caused by want of due diligence on the part of the carrier to make the ship seaworthy, and to secure that the ship is properly manned, equipped, and supplied, and to make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers, and all other parts of the ship in which goods are carried fit and sale for their reception, carriage, and preservation in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (a) of section 3. Whenever loss or damage has resulted from unseaworthiness the burden of proving the exercise of due diligence shall be on the carrier or other person claiming exemption under this section.
(b) Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible for loss or damage arising or resulting from:
1. Act, neglect, or default of the master, mariner, pilot, or the servants of the carrier in the navigation or in the management of the ship;
2. Fire, unless caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier; 3. Perils, dangers, and accidents of the sea or other navigable waters; 4. Act of God; 5. Act of war; 6. Act of public enemies; 7. Arrest or restraint of princes, rulers, or people, or seizure under legal process; 8. Quarantine restrictions; 9. Act or omission of the shipper or owner of goods, his agent or representative:
10. Strikes or lockouts or stoppage or restraint of labor from whatever cause, whether partial or general;
11. Riots and civil commotions; 12. Saving or attempting to save life or property at sea; 13. Wastage in bulk or weight or inherent defect, quality, or vice of the goods; 14. Insufliciency of packing; 15. Insufficiency or inadequacy of marks; 16. Latent defects not discoverable by due diligence;
17. 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, but the burden of
proof shall be on the person claiming the benefit of this exception to show that neither the actual fault or privity of the carrier nor the fault or neglect of the agents or servants of the carrier contributed to the loss or damage.
(c) The shipper shall not be responsible for loss or damage sustained by the carrier or the ship arising or resulting from any cause without the act, fault, or neglect of the shipper, his agents or his servants.
(d) Any deviation in saving or attempting to save life or property at sea, or any reasonable deviation shall not be deemed to be an infringement or breach of this act or of the contract of carriage, and the carrier shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting therefrom.
(e) Neither the carrier nor the ship shall in any event be or become liable for any loss or damage to or in connection wlth goods in an amount beyond £100 per package or unit, or the equivalent of that sum in other currency unless the nature and value of such goods have been declared by the shipper before the goods are shipped and have been inserted in the bill of lading.
This declaration, if embodied in the bill of lading, shall be prima facie evidence but shall not be binding or conclusive on the carrier.
By agreement between the carrier, master, or agent of the carrier and the shipper another maximum amount than mentioned in this paragraph may be fixed: Provided, That such maximum shall not be less than the figure above named.
The rate of exchange shall be taken to be the rate ruling on the day of the arrival of the ship at the port of discharge of the goods concerned.
(f5 Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible in any event for loss or damage to or in connection with goods if the nature or value thereof as shown in the bill of lading has been willfully misstated by the shipper in the bill of lading.
(g) Goods of an inflammable, explosive, or dangerous nature, to the shipment whereof the carrier, master, or agent of the carrier has not consented with knowledge of their nature and character, may at any time before discharge be landed at any place or destroyed or rendered innocuous by the carrier without compensation to the shipper, and the shipper of such goods shall be liable for all damages and expenses directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from such shipment. If any such goods shipped with such knowledge and consent shall become a danger to the ship or cargo, they may in like manner be landed at any place, or destroyed or rendered innocuous by the carrier, without liability on the part of the carrier except to general average, if
any. .SEC. 5. A carrier shall be at liberty to surrender in whole or in part all or any of his rights and immunities under this act, provided such surrender shall be embodied in the bill of lading issued to the shipper. The provisions of this act shall not be applicable to charter parties, but if bills of lading are issued in the case of a ship under a charter party they shall comply with the terms of this act. Nothing in this act shall be held to prevent the insertion in a bill of lading of any lawful provision regarding general average.
SEC. 6. Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding sections a carrier, master, or agent of the carrier and a shipper shall in regard to any particular goods be at liberty to enter into any agreement in any terms as to the responsibility and liability of the carrier for such goods, and as to the rights and immunities of the carrier in respect of such goods, or his obligation as to seaworthiness, so far as this stipulation is not contrary to public policy, or the care or diligence of his servants or agents in regard to the loading, handling, stowage, carriage, custody, care, and discharge of the goods carried by sea: Provided, That in this cass no bill of lading has been or shall be issued and that the terms agreed shall be embodied in a receipt which shall be a nonnegotiable document and shall be marked as such.
Any agreement so entered into shall have full legal effect: Provided, That this section shall not apply to ordinary commercial shipments made in the ordinary course of trade, but only to other shipments where the character or condition of the property to be carried or the circumstances, terms, and conditions under which the carriage is to be performed and such as reasonably to justify a special agreement.
Sec. 7. The provisions of this act shall not affect the rights and obligations of the carrier under the provisions of sections 4281 to 4289, inclusive, of the Revised Statutes of the Unite 1 States.
SEC. 8. This act shall apply to al contracts of carriage of goods by sea to, from, or between ports of the United States and its possessions and between any such ports and foreign ports.
SEC. 9. If any manager, agent, master, owner, or charterer of any vessel shall issue a contract of carriage in violation of the provisions of this act, or which shall contain clauses, covenants, or agreements which are declared by paragraph (h) of section 3 of this act to be null and void and of no effect, or shall refuse to issue a contract of car