"Subject to the provisions of Article 4, the carrier shall properly and carefully load, handle, stow, carry, keep, care for, and discharge the goods carried."
Though this is considered very important, this passage is in fact the least considered article. This statement tackles about obligation of a carrier, not just to deliver the cargo successfully, but also to “carry the load with care.”
The Act provides that every “bill of lading” shall effect subject to the Act’s provisions given that there is an evidence of a contract of carriage of goods by the sea from the US to other places in foreign trade. Under the Act, the carrier must ensure the proper and careful loading, handling, stowing, carrying, keeping, caring, and the discharge of the goods carried. Every personnel related to the delivery, from the carrier’s master, crew, stevedores, and agents are all liable for the negligent acts.
However, the Act is not applicable to charter party contracts. In case of parties entering a charter party for private carriage of goods by sea, they are free to allocate risks contractually given that the responsibility of the loss of cargo falls on the party who perform the delivery of the cargo.
In the case of private carriage, charter parties are fixed on a Free In-Out Stowed basis which means, cargo shall be loaded and be discharged by its charterer without any risk and in the expense of the shipowner. However, the bills of lading issued by a ship under charter must comply with the terms of the Carriage of Goods Act (Clark, 1992).
Below lists the some obligations of the carrier in handling cargo before and after shipment:
1. Carriers have the obligation to study...
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...ods from possible dangers such as heat, freezing, moisture, rust, thawing, fire and lack of ventilation. The vessel must be thoroughly checked and assessed to ensure that it is seaworthy. Carriers must also ask for special instructions for special cargoes that needs utmost care, however, if in case that these conditions were not met, the carrier has the right to refuse the cargo. These are the conditions and concerns of the carrier that needs to be considered (Tetley, 2001).
Clark, P. D. (1992). Duty to Load, Stow Cargo Rests Firmly with Carrier.” Sea Law Volume 2. Retrieved November 9, 2013 from http://www.navlaw.com/articles/v2/duty-to-load-stow-cargo-rests-firmly-with-carrier.htm
Tetley, W. (2001). Properly Carry, Keep and Care for Cargo. Retrieved November 9, 2013 from http://www.mcgill.ca/maritimelaw/maritime-admiralty/art3-2
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