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The Hague Visby rules in maritime law relate to parties dealing with shipping goods by sea. The rules apply to a number of states; however, the manner of implementation differs from state to state. Some countries apply the rules directly while others may decide to amend them to suit their prevailing conditions…
Consequently, exporters are bound by the rules. On the other hand, imports will only apply the Rules in the event that the goods came from countries governed by them. Exceptions will be made to parties that expressly agreed to the Rules in their bill of lading. This implies that when a carrier decides to ignore the use of a bill of lading, then he is not bound by the rules. Such a carrier has the mandate to introduce his own terms and conditions. Also, carriers my be exempt from the Rules when they choose to give a receipt instead of a bill of lading and in the event that they are operating between countries that are not bound by the Rules. This gives carriers undue advantage and can be a source of conflict. 2
There are certain limitations on the application of the rules that are not necessarily related to the bill of lading. For instance when the carrier is required to transport live animals, then he is not bound by the rules. Similarly, if the merchandise to be transported comprises of deck cargo, then parties are not obliged to apply the Hague Visby rules. Additionally, if a receipt rather than a contract was awarded, then the rules do not apply. The receipt must be a way bill i.e. it should be non negotiable.
It should be noted that the Hague rules can apply to a given situation even when a bill of lading was not issued. ...
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