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E-News for November 26, 2007

Hello and welcome to readers old and new. The last two months have been quite eventful, and your Editor humbly apologizes for the delay in the release of this e-news.

New Forwarderlaw Member for Ireland
All of us at Forwarderlaw extend our warm welcome to Helen Noble of Mason, Hayes, & Curran, our newest forwarderlaw member. She has provided us with a helpful overview of the Transport laws of Ireland, sure to be of interest to any of our readers doing business there:

The Tasman Pioneer
The high Court of New Zealand has rendered its decision in the case of the Tasman Pioneer, wrecked in Japanese waters in May 2001 after the Master attempted to steam through a narrow channel in bad weather with malfunctioning radar equipment. In the aftermath of the accident, the ships logs were falsified and the crew asked to provide false evidence with respect to the voyage to the Japanese Coast Guard. The case focussed very much on post-accident conduct, the ‘error in navigation’ defence, and the application of a ‘good faith’ doctrine in commercial relationships.

For initial case notes click here:

For a perspective from cargo insurers, click here:

For further thoughts from our UK Editor Paul Bugden, click here:

Liability of Intermediary for Acts of Carriers?
Steve Block provides and interesting – and unsettling – commentary on a case before the Courts of Virginia. The claim was brought by a trucker who was involved in an accident with another trucker; in addition to suing the carrier, the plaintiff claimed against the transport broker who arranged the carriage. Sadly, the broker was not able to avoid liability on a motion for summary judgment. The court determined that at least two issues were substantial enough to go to trial: first, whether the trucker, and independent contractor, could be legally described as an employee, and second, whether the obligations with respect to the haul itself (and not the physical load) could be said to have been ‘entrusted’ to the subcontractor, exposing the broker to a claim in negligent entrustment. These issues will go to trial. For the full review click here:

Fundamental Breach and Interpretation of Contract Terms
Editor Emeritus Peter Jones reviews a recent English Court of Appeal decision involving a shipment of copper that was delivered to the wrong party as a result of fraud. Perhaps surprising to our readers will be the Court’s conclusion that the Hague Visby rules would not apply, although the cargo originated in South Africa, which adopted the Rules in domestic law, and the law of the contract was the law of England, a State Party to the convention. The applicability of the Rules to post-discharge loss was also considered and rejected: in the result the carrier was liable for the entire value of the cargo. For the full article click here:

Mexican Trucking Stateside
US West Coast contributor Steve Block writes about the ‘problem’ of Mexican trucks. Since 1982 Mexican truckers have been prohibited from operating beyond a small corridor close to the border, ostensibly based on safety concerns. This increases shipping costs from Mexico, one of the U.S.’ biggest trading partners, and may be contrary to America’s NAFTA obligations. The fate of a year long pilot project also remains to be determined. For more click here:

Marine Insurance Primer
Our UK Editor Paul Bugden has also provided a primer on Marine Insurance for those involved in the industry who are often uncomfortable with insurance policies. The first three parts are available here:

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