The Defense of Seaworthiness in Marine Cargo Claims: A Philippine Perspective


Alan Siquijor

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This thesis examines the defense of seaworthiness in marine cargo claims from a Philippine perspective. There are two sets of laws applicable to cargo loss and/or damage based on the type of carrier involved. Common carriers are governed primarily by the Philippine Civil Code and are required to exercise "extraordinary diligence" over the goods. Private carriers are governed primarily by the provisions of the demise charter party, the Code of Commerce and the Hague Rules and are only required to exercise "due diligence" in making the vessel seaworthy. However, there is no difference in the verification of the seaworthiness of a vessel by the different government agencies tasked with inspecting and licensing vessels. The courts themselves are not clear in distinguishing extraordinary diligence from ordinary diligence. Since there is no practical difference in law between common carriers and private carriers, and in order to simplify the law on the defense of seaworthiness, the legal distinction between common carriers and private carriers should be eliminated and only one uniform standard of diligence be used in the carriage of goods. It should be the standard of due diligence under the Hague Rules.


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