Cargo: when is a 'clean bill' not clean?

Cargo interests brought a claim under the bills of lading in relation to a heavily rusted cargo of steel pipes. The pipes were in fact rusty on shipment, but the bills of lading contained a standard form RETLA clause (named after the US case, Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance v. Retla Shipping), on which the owners sought to rely in order to defeat the claim. The RETLA clause sometimes appears on the face of a bill of lading where the carriage involves iron, steel, metal products or timber. The aim of the clause is to qualify the term “apparent good order and condition” by clarifying that, when the cargo was received for shipment, it was not necessarily free of visible rust or moisture, staining, chaffing etc. This means the carrier can issue clean bills of lading, even though the mate’s receipts have been claused. The decision of Mr Justice Simon in this case is the first time that the English courts have considered this clause. He disagreed with the reasoning behind the decision in Tokio Marine and held that the representation made in the bills as to the cargo’s apparent condition was false.

The vessel loaded a cargo of steel pipes at Ulsan, for carriage to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver. The bills of lading contained a US General Paramount Clause incorporating US COGSA. They also contained the usual statement that the goods were shipped “in apparent good order and condition”. In addition, however, the bills included a RETLA clause…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Ince & Co briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Click on the link above to download briefing.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in

Register

It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer

 

Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.

 

Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.

 

Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Ince & Co

View more briefings from Ince & Co

Analysis from The Lawyer

Overview

International House
1 St Katharine's Way
London
E1W 1AY
UK
http://incelaw.com/

Turnover (£m): 86.70
No. of lawyers: 273 (UK 200)
Offices: 11
Qualified lawyers (firm wide): 273
Qualified lawyers (UK total): 140
Qualified lawyers outside London: 133 (International 50)