Wirth Limited et.al. v. The "Federal Danube"

In Carriage of Goods by Sea on (Updated )

This case concerned damage to a cargo of steel rails carried from Antwerp to Montreal. The carrier acknowledged receipt of the cargo at Antwerp in apparent good order and condition except for some slight rusting. Upon discharge at Montreal the cargo was noted as being in substantially the same condition except one rail was damaged. The cargo was then carried by Rail to Winnipeg. Upon delivery to the consignee at Winnipeg it was noted that approximately 10% of the rails had been damaged by scratches to their base. The scratches were slightly rusted by salt water mist indicating the damage occurred prior to arrival at Montreal. The Plaintiff argued that the carrier was liable as having received the cargo in good order and condition and delivered it in bad condition. The Court, however, stated that the clean bills of lading were not a statement that the cargo was in perfect condition when it arrived at Antwerp. The clean bills of lading meant only that upon a reasonable and practical examination of the cargo, no damage was visible. The Court noted that, except for one rail, the cargo was delivered at Montreal in the same condition as received at Antwerp, i.e.. with no visible damage. It was therefore held that the carrier was only liable for damage to one rail.