Interesting resolution handed down by the Commercial Court of Valencia (Spain) in a claim filed by a cargo underwriter against the freight forwarder and the carrier as a result of the fire on board MV Maersk Honam. The resolution has just become final and unappealable.
Muñoz & Montañés represented the carrier in the proceedings.
After considering applicable the Hague-Visby rules (HVR) to the relevant shipment, Yantian – Valencia, evidenced in a liner Bill of Lading (B/L), the Judge acquits the defendants relying on the fire liability exemption (art. IV.2.b HVR).
The fatal consequences of the incident, the extent of the damages on the ship and her cargo, and the unknown origin of the fire, are circumstances taken into account.
Although our Courts tend to be more “cargo protective” in light of Spain being a cargo country, it is positive to note that they still respect the exemptions on carrier’s liability regime, cornerstone of the shipping law.