In February, Fire Services Pty Ltd, an Australian company, agreed to sell an airfield fire truck valued at AUD $150,000 to Harrow International Airport, an English company. The sale was on FOB (Melbourne) terms. Harrow International Airport organised transport from the Port of Melbourne to the Port of London with an Australia shipping company, Ocean Carriers.
Despite Ocean Carriers carrying out checks on the holds and stowing systems in the cargo holds prior to the journey, during a storm in the North Pacific a lashing belt snapped causing significant damage to the front of the truck.
After arriving at the Port of London the truck was further damaged as it was being unloaded. The stevedore operator employed by the carrier was inexperienced having only recently gained the appropriate high-risk work licences required to operate a vehicle-loading machinery with a capacity of 10 metre tonnes. The operator forgot to ensure that the hoisting gear was properly engaged before attempting to life the truck from the deck of the ship. As the truck was hoisted up in the air and was approximately 2 meters above the deck, the hoisting gear uncoupled and the truck crashed back onto the deck, the ship then lurched violently and the truck rolled over and off the side, crashing onto the dock. The truck was almost completely destroyed.
Has Ocean Carriers breached any of its obligations under the Modified Hague Visby Rules? In your response remember to consider both the carrier’s obligations and available defences under the Rules.