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统一提单的若干法律规则的国际公约(海牙规则)
2011年11月04日

   


  ① 注:《海牙规则》是海上运输方面一个十分重要的公约,至今已有五十多个国家承认了它。几十年来许多国家的航运公司都在其所制发的提单上规定采用本 规则,据以确定承运人在货物装船、收受、配载、承运、保管、照料和卸载过程中 所应承担的责任与义务,以及其应享受的权利与豁免。自一九二四年制订《海牙规则》实施半个多世纪以来,由于本身存在的和在实施过程中出现的各项问题,以及 近年来国际经济、政治的变化和海运技术的发展,某些内容已经过时,多数国家特 别是代表货方利益的国家和第三世界国家强烈要求修改本规则。目前,对《海牙规则》的修改存在两个方案:一个是代表英国及北欧各传统海运国家提出的《维斯比规则》,另一个是由联合国国际贸易法委员会所属国际航运立法工作组提出的代表 第三世界和货方利益的汉堡规则,由于目前正处在新旧交替过程中,而这三个规则 在实际的海运业务中,分别为有关国家及其船公司所采用,所以,我们对这三个规 则都应该有所了解。


  第一条 本公约所用下列各词,函义如下:
  (a)”承运人”包括与托运人订有运输合同的船舶所有人或租船人。
  (b)”运输合同”仅适用于以提单或任何类似的物权证件进行有关海上货物 运输的合同;在租船合同下或根据租船合同所签发的提单或任何物权证件,在它们 成为制约承运人与凭证持有人之间的关系准则时,也包括在内。
  (c)”货物”包括货物、制品、商品和任何种类的物品,但活牲畜以及在运 输合同上载明装载于舱面上并且已经这样装运的货物除外。
  (d)”船舶”是指用于海上货物运输的任何船舶。
  (e)”货物运输”是指自货物装上船时起,至卸下船时止的一段期间。

  第二条 除遵照第六条规定外,每个海上货物运输合同的承运人,对有关货物 的装载、搬运、配载、运送、保管、照料和卸载,都应按照下列规定承担责任和义 务,并享受权利和豁免。

  第三条
  1.承运人须在开航前和开航时克尽职责:
  (a)使船舶适于航行;
  (b)适当地配备船员、装备船舶和供应船舶;
  (c)使货舱、冷藏舱和该船其他载货处所能适宜和安全地收受、运送和保管 货物。
  2.除遵照第四条规定外,承运人应适当和谨慎地装卸、搬运、配载、运送、 保管、照料和卸载所运货物。
  3.承运人或船长或承运人的代理人在收受货物归其照管后,经托运人的请求 ,应向托运人签发提单,其上载明下列各项:
  (a)与开始装货前由托运人书面提供者相同的、为辨认货物所需的主要唛头 ,如果这项唛头是以印戳或其他方式标示在不带包装的货物上,或在其中装有货物 的箱子或包装物上,该项唛头通常应在航程终了时仍能保持清晰可认。
  (b)托运人用书面提供的包数或件数,或数量,或重量。
  (c)货物的表面状况。
  但是,承运人、船长或承运人的代理人,不一定必须将任何货物的唛头、号码 、数量或重量表明或标示在提单上,如果他有合理根据怀疑提单不能正确代表实际 收到的货物,或无适当方法进行核对的话。
  4.依照第3款(a)、(b)、(c)项所载内容的这样一张提单,应作为 承运人收到该提单中所载货物的初步证据。
  5.托运人应被视为已在装船时向承运人保证,由他提供的唛头、号码、数量 和重量均正确无误;并应赔偿给承运人由于这些项目不正确所引起或导致的一切灭 失、损坏和费用。承运人的这种赔偿权利,并不减轻其根据运输合同对托运人以外 的任何人所承担的责任和义务。
  6.在将货物移交给根据运输合同有权收货的人之前或当时,除非在卸货港将 货物的灭失和损害的一般情况,已用书面通知承运人或其代理人,则这种移交应作 为承运人已按照提单规定交付货物的初步证据。
  如果灭失或损坏不明显,则这种通知应于交付货物之日起的三天内提交。
  如果货物状况在收受时已经进行联合检验或检查,就无须再提交书面通知。
  除非从货物交付之日或应交付之日起一年内提出诉讼,承运人和船舶在任何情 况下都免除对灭失或损害所负的一切责任。
  遇有任何实际的或推定的灭失或损害,承运人与收货人必须为检验和清点货物 相互给予一切合理便利。
  7.货物装船后,如果托运人要求,签发”已装船”提单,承运人、船长或承 运人的代理人签发给托运人的提单,应为”已装船”提单,如果托运人事先已取得 这种货物的物权单据,应交还这种单据,换取”已装船”提单。但是,也可以根据 承运人的决定,在装货港由承运人、船长或其代理人在上述物权单据上注明装货船 名和装船日期。经过这样注明的上述单据,如果载有第三条第3款所指项目,即应 成为本条所指的”已装船”提单。
  8.运输合同中的任何条款、约定或协议,凡是解除承运人或船舶对由于疏忽 、过失或未履行本条规定的责任和义务,因而引起货物或关于货物的灭失或损害的 责任的,或以下同于本公约的规定减轻这种责任的,则一律无效。有利于承运人的 保险利益或类似的条款,应视为属于免除承运人责任的条款。

  第四条
  1.不论承运人或船舶,对于因不适航所引起的灭失或损坏,都不负责,除非 造成的原因是由于承运人未按第三条第1款的规定,克尽职责;使船舶适航;保证 适当地配备船员、装备和供应该船,以及使货舱、冷藏舱和该船的其它装货处所能 适宜并安全地收受、运送和保管货物。凡由于船舶不适航所引起的灭失和损害,对 于已克尽职责的举证责任,应由根据本条规定要求免责的承运人或其他人承担。
  2.不论承运人或船舶,对由于下列原因引起或造成的灭失或损坏,都不负责 :
  (a)船长、船员、引水员或承运人的雇佣人员,在航行或管理船舶中的行为 、疏忽或不履行义务。
  (b)火灾,但由于承运人的实际过失或私谋所引起的除外。
  (c)海上或其它能航水域的灾难、危险和意外事故。
  (d)天灾。
  (e)战争行为。
  (f)公敌行为。
  (g)君主、当权者或人民的扣留或管制,或依法扣押。
  (h)检疫限制。
  (i)托运人或货主、其代理人或代表的行为或不行为。
  (j)不论由于任何原因所引起的局部或全面罢工、关厂停止或限制工作。
  (k)暴动和骚乱。
  (l)救助或企图救助海上人命或财产。
  (m)由于货物的固有缺点、性质或缺陷引起的体积或重量亏损,或任何其它 灭失或损坏。
  (n)包装不善。
  (o)唛头不清或不当。
  (p)虽克尽职责亦不能发现的潜在缺点。
  (q)非由于承运人的实际过失或私谋,或者承运人的代理人,或雇佣人员的 过失或疏忽所引起的其它任何原因;但是要求引用这条免责利益的人应负责举证, 证明有关的灭失或损坏既非由于承运人的实际过失或私谋,亦非承运人的代理人或 雇佣人员的过失或疏忽所造成。
  3.对于任何非因托运人、托运人的代理人或其雇佣人员的行为、过失或疏忽 所引起的使承运人或船舶遭受的灭失或损坏,托运人不负责任。
  4.为救助或企图救助海上人命或财产而发生的绕航,或任何合理绕航,都不 能作为破坏或违反本公约或运输合同的行为;承运人对由此而引起的任何灭失或损 害,都不负责。
  5.承运人或是船舶,在任何情况下对货物或与货物有关的灭失或损害,每件 或每计费单位超过一百英镑或与其等值的其他货币的部分,都不负责;但托运人于 装货前已就该项货物的性质和价值提出声明,并已在提单中注明的,不在此限。
  该项声明如经载入提单,即做为初步证据,但它对承运人并不具有约束力或最 终效力。
  经承运人、船长或承运人的代理人与托运人双方协议,可规定不同于本款规定 的另一最高限额,但该最高限额不得低于上述数额。
  如承运人在提单中,故意谎报货物性质或价值,则在任何情况下,承运人或是 船舶,对货物或与货物有关的灭失或损害,都不负责。
  6.承运人、船长或承运人的代理人对于事先不知性质而装载的具有易燃、爆 炸或危险性的货物,可在卸货前的任何时候将其卸在任何地点,或将其销毁,或使 之无害,而不予赔偿;该项货物的托运人,应对由于装载该项货物而直接或间接引 起的一切损害或费用负责。如果承运人知道该项货物的性质,并已同意装载,则在 该项货物对船舶或货载发生危险时,亦得同样将该项货物卸在任何地点,或将其销 毁,或使之无害,而不负赔偿责任,但如发生共同海损不在此限。

  第五条 承运人可以自由地全部或部分放弃本公约中所规定的他的权利和豁免 ,或增加他所应承担的任何一项责任和义务。但是这种放弃或增加,须在签发给托 运人的提单上注明。
  本公约的规定,不适用于租船合同,但如果提单是根据租船合同签发的,则上 述提单应符合本公约的规定。本公约中的任何规定,都不得妨碍在提单中加注有关 共同海损的任何合法条款。

  第六条 虽有前述各条规定,只要不违反公共秩序,承运人、船长或承运人的 代理人得与托运人就承运人对任何特定货物应负的责任和应尽的义务,及其所享受 的权利与豁免,或船舶适航的责任等,以任何条件,自由地订立任何协议。或就承 运人雇佣人员或代理人在海运货物的装载、搬运、配载、运送、保管、照料和卸载 方面应注意及谨慎的事项,自由订立任何协议。但在这种情况下,必须是未曾签发 或将不签发提单,而且应将上述协议的条款载入不得转让并注明这种字样的收据内 。
  这样订立的任何协议,都具有完全的法律效力。
  但本条规定不适用于依照普通贸易程序成交的一般商业货运,而仅在拟装运的 财物的性质和状况,或据以进行运输的环境、条款和条件,有订立特别协议的合理 需要时,才能适用。

  第七条 本条约中的任何规定,都不妨碍承运人或托运人就承运人或船舶对海 运船舶所载货物于装船以前或卸船以后所受灭失或损害,或与货物的保管、照料和 搬运有关的灭失或损害所应承担的责任与义务,订立任何协议、规定、条件、保留 或免责条款。

  第八条 本公约各条规定,都不影响有关海运船舶所有人责任限制的任何现行 法令所规定的承运人的权利和义务。

  第九条 本公约所提到的货币单位为金价。
  凡缔约国中不以英镑作为货币单位的,得保留其将本公约所指的英镑数额以四 舍五入的方式折合为本国货币的权利。
  各国法律可以为债务人保留按船舶抵达卸货港之日通知的兑换率,以本国货币 偿清其有关货物的债务的权利。

  第十条 本公约和各项规定,适用于在任何缔约国所签发的一切提单。

  第十一条 自本公约签字之日起不超过二年的期限内,比利时政府应与已声明 拟批准本公约的缔约国保持联系,以便决定是否使本公约生效。批准书应于各缔约 国协商确定的日期交存于布鲁塞尔。首次交存的批准书应载入由参加国代表及比利 时外交部长签署的议定书内。
  以后交存的批准书,应以书面通知送交比利时政府,并随附批准文件。
  比利时政府,应立即将有关记载首次交存批准书的议定书和上段所指的通知, 随附批准书等的核证无误的副本,通过外交途径送交已签署本公约或已加入本公约 的国家。在上段所指情况下,比利时政府应于收到通知的同时,知照各国。

  第十二条 凡未签署本公约的国家,不论是否已出席在布鲁塞尔召开的国际会 议,都可以加入本公约。
  拟加入本公约的国家,应将其意图用书面通知比利时政府,并送交其加入的文 件,该项文件应存放在比利时政府档案库。
  比利时政府应立即将加入本公约通知书的核证无误的副本,分送已签署本公约 或已加入本公约的国家,并注明它收到上述通知的日期。

  第十三条 缔约国的签署、批准或加入本公约时,可以声明其接受本公约并不 包括其任何或全部自治领或殖民地、海外属地、保护国或在其主权或权力管辖下的 地域;并且可以在此后代表这些声明中未包括的任何自治领或殖民地、海外属地、 保护国或地域将分别加入本公约。各缔约国还可以根据本公约的规定,代表其任何 自治领或殖民地、海外属地、保护国或其主权或权力管辖下的地域将分别声明退出 本公约。

  第十四条 本公约在首批交存批准书的各国之间,于议定书记载此项交存之日 起一年后开始生效。此后批准或加入本公约的各国或根据第十三条规定使公约生效 的各国,于此比利时政府收到第十一条第2款及第十二条第2段所指的通知六个月 后生效。

  第十五条 如有缔约国欲退出本公约,应用书面通知比利时政府,比利时政府 立即将核证无误的通知副本分送其他国家,并注明其收到上述通知的日期。
  这种退出只对提出通知的国家有效,生效日期从上述通知送达比利时政府之日 起一年以后开始。

  第十六条 任何一个缔约国都有权就考虑修改本公约事项,请求召开新的会议 。
  欲行使此项权利的国家,应通过比利时政府将其意图通知其他国家,由比利时 政府安排召开会议事宜。
  一九二四年八月二十五日订于布鲁塞尔,计一份。
  (签字代表从略)
  签字议定书
  在签订《统一提单的若干法律规则的国际公约》时,下列签字的全权代表都已 采用本议定书;本议定书犹如已将其条款列入它所依附的公约那样,具有同样的效 力。
  各缔约国得以给予本公约以法律效力,或将本公约所采用的规则以适于其本国 立法的形式纳入该国的法律,使之生效。
  各缔约国得保留以下权力:
  1.规定如发生第四条第2款(c)至(p)项所述情况,提单持有人应有权 就未在第(a)项提及的由于承运人本人或其雇佣人员的过失所引起的灭失或损坏 ,制定责任制度。
  2.在本国沿海贸易中,将第六条规定各点用于各种货物上,而不考虑该条最 末一段所规定的限制。
  本议定书于一九二四年八月二十五日订于布鲁塞尔,计一份。

 

(签字代表与《统一提单的若干法律规则的国际公约》相同,从略)

 


 

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE UNIFICATION OF CERTAIN RULES OF LAW RELATING TO BILLS OF LADING

(“HAGUE RULES”)


(Brussels, 25 August 1924)

 

The President of the German Republic, the President of the Argentine Republic, His Majesty the King of the Belgians, the President of the Republic of Chile, the President of the Republic of Cuba, His Majesty the King of Denmark and Iceland, His Majesty the King of Spain, the Head of the Estonian State, the President of the United States of America, the President of the Republic of Finland, the President of the French Republic, His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Emperor of India, His Most Supreme Highness the Governor of the Kingdom of Hungary, His Majesty the King of Italy, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, the President of the Latvian Republic, the President of the Republic of Mexico, His Majesty the King of Norway, Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, the President of the Republic of Peru, the President of the Polish Republic, the President of the Portuguese Republic, His Majesty the King of Romania, His Majesty the King of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, His Majesty the King of Sweden, and the President of the Republic of Uruguay,

HAVING RECOGNIZED the utility of fixing by agreement certain uniform rules of law relating to bills of lading,

HAVE DECIDED to conclude a convention with this object and have appointed the following Plenipotentiaries:

WHO, duly authorized thereto, have agreed as follows:


Article 1

In this Convention the following words are employed with the meanings set out below:

(a) “Carrier” includes the owner or the charterer who enters into a contract of carriage with a shipper.

(b) “Contract of carriage” applies only to contracts of carriage covered by a bill of lading or any similar document of title, in so far as such document relates to the carriage of goods by sea, including any bill of lading or any similar document as aforesaid issued under or pursuant to a charter party from the moment at which such bill of lading or similar document of title regulates the relations between a carrier and a holder of the same.

(c) “Goods” includes goods, wares, merchandise and articles of every kind whatsoever except live animals and cargo which by the contract of carriage in stated as being carried on deck and is so carried.

(d) “Ship” means any vessel used for the carriage of goods by sea.

(e) “Carriage of goods” covers the period from the time when the goods are loaded on to the time they are discharged from the ship.

Article 2

Subject to the provisions of Article 6, under every contract of carriage of goods by sea the carrier, in relation to the loading, handling, stowage, carriage, custody, care and discharge of such goods, shall be subject to the responsibilities and liabilities, and entitled to the rights and immunities hereinafter set forth.

Article 3

1. The carrier shall be bound before and at the beginning of the voyage to exercise due diligence t

(a) Make the ship seaworthy.

(b) Properly man, equip and supply the ship.

(c) Make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers, and all other parts of the ship in which goods are carried, fit and safe for their reception, carriage and preservation.

2. 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.

3. After receiving the goods into his charge the carrier or the master or agent of the carrier shall, on demand of the shipper, issue to the shipper a bill of lading showing among other things:

(a) The leading marks necessary for identification of the goods as the same are furnished in writing by the shipper before the loading of such goods starts, provided such marks are stamped or otherwise shown clearly upon the goods if uncovered, or on the cases or coverings in which such goods are contained, in such a manner as should ordinarily remain legible until the end of the voyage.

(b) Either the number of packages or pieces, or the quantity, or weight, as the case may be, as furnished in writing by the shipper.

(c) The apparent order and condition of the goods.

Provided that no carrier, master or agent of the carrier shall be bound to state or show in the bill of lading any marks, number, quantity, or weight which he has reasonable ground for suspecting not accurately to represent the goods actually received, or which he has had no reasonable means of checking.

4. Such a bill of lading shall be prima facie evidence of the receipt by the carrier of the goods as therein described in accordance with paragraph 3(a), (b) and (c).

5. The shipper shall be deemed to have guaranteed to the carrier the accuracy at the time of shipment of the marks, number, quantity and weight, as furnished by him, and the shipper shall indemnity the carrier against all loss, damages and expenses arising or resulting from inaccuracies in such particulars. The right of the carrier to such indemnity shall in no way limit his responsibility and liability under the contract of carriage to any person other than the shipper.

6. Unless notice of loss or damage and the general nature of such loss or damage be given in writing to the carrier or his agent at the port of discharge before or at the time of the removal of the goods into the custody of the person entitled to delivery thereof under the contract of carriage, or, if the loss or damage be not apparent, within three days, such removal shall be prima facie evidence of the delivery by the carrier of the goods as described in the bill of lading.

If the loss or damage is not apparent, the notice must be given within three days of the delivery of the goods.

The notice in writing need not be given if the state of the goods has, at the time of their receipt, been the subject of joint survey or inspection.

In any event the carrier and the ship shall be discharged from all liability in respect of loss or damage unless suit is brought within one year after delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered.

In the case of any actual or apprehended loss or damage the carrier and the receiver shall give all reasonable facilities to each other for inspecting and tallying the goods.

7. After the goods are loaded the bill of lading to be issued by the carrier, master, or agent of the carrier, to the shipper shall, if the shipper so demands, be a “shipped” bill of lading, provided that if the shipper shall have previously taken up any document of title to such goods, he shall surrender the same as against the issue of the “shipped” bill of lading, but at the option of the carrier such document of title may be noted at the port of shipment by the carrier, master, or agent with the name or names of the ship or ships upon which the goods have been shipped and the date or dates of shipment, and when so noted, if it shows the particulars mentioned in paragraph 3 of Article 3, shall for the purpose of this Article be deemed to constitute a “shipped” bill of lading.

8. Any clause, covenant, or agreement in a contract of carriage relieving the carrier or the ship from liability for loss or damage to, or in connexion with, goods arising from negligence, fault, or failure in the duties and obligations provided in this Article or lessening such liability otherwise than as provided in this Convention, shall be null and void and of no effect. A benefit of insurance in favour of the carrier or similar clause shall be deemed to be a clause relieving the carrier from liability.

Article 4

1. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be liable for loss or damage arising or resulting from unseaworthiness unless caused by want of due diligence on the part of the carrier to make the ship seaworthy and to secure that the ship is properly manned, equipped and supplied, and to make the holds, refrigerating and cool chambers and all other parts of the ship in which goods are carried fit and safe for their reception, carriage and preservation in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 3. Whenever loss or damage has resulted from unseaworthiness the burden of proving the exercise of due diligence shall be on the carrier or other person claiming exemption under this Article.

2. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible for loss or damage arising or resulting from:

(a) Act, neglect, or default of the master, mariner, pilot, or the servants of the carrier in the navigation or in the management of the ship.

(b) Fire, unless caused by the actual fault or privity of the carrier.

(c) Perils, dangers and accidents of the sea or other navigable waters.

(d) Act of God.

(e) Act of war.

(f) Act of public enemies.

(g) Arrest or restraint or princes, rulers or people, or seizure under legal process.

(h) Quarantine restrictions.

(i) Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods, his agent or representative.

(j) Strikes or lockouts or stoppage or restraint of labour from whatever cause, whether partial or general.

(k) Riots and civil commotions.

(l) Saving or attempting to save life or property at sea.

(m) Wastage in bulk or weight or any other loss or damage arising from inherent defect, quality or vice of the goods.

(n) Insufficiency of packing.

(o) Insufficiency or inadequacy of marks.

(p) Latent defects not discoverable by due diligence.

(q) Any other cause arising without the actual fault or privity of the carrier, or without the actual fault or neglect of the agents or servants of the carrier, but the burden of proof shall be on the person claiming the benefit of this exception to show that neither the actual fault or privity of the carrier nor the fault or neglect of the agents or servants of the carrier contributed to the loss or damage.

3. The shipper shall not be responsible for loss or damage sustained by the carrier or the ship arising or resulting from any cause without the act, fault or neglect of the shipper, his agents or his servants.

4. Any deviation in saving or attempting to save life or property at sea or any reasonable deviation shall not be deemed to be an infringement or breach of this Convention or of the contract of carriage, and the carrier shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting therefrom.

5. Neither the carrier nor the ship shall in any event be or become liable for any loss or damage to or in connexion with goods in an amount exceeding 100 pounds sterling per package or unit, or the equivalent of that sum in other currency unless the nature and value of such goods have been declared by the shipper before shipment and inserted in the bill of lading.

This declaration if embodied in the bill of lading shall be prima facie evidence, but shall not be binding or conclusive on the carrier.

By agreement between the carrier, master or agent of the carrier and the shipper another maximum amount than that mentioned in this paragraph may be fixed, provided that such maximum shall not be less than the figure above named.

Neither the carrier nor the ship shall be responsible in any event for loss or damage to, or in connexion with, goods if the nature or value thereof has been knowingly misstated by the shipper in the bill of lading.

6. Goods of an inflammable, explosive or dangerous nature to the shipment whereof the carrier, master or agent of the carrier has not consented with knowledge of their nature and character, may at any time before discharge be landed at any place, or destroyed or rendered innocuous by the carrier without compensation and the shipper of such goods shall be liable for all damage and expenses directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from such shipment. If any such goods shipped with such knowledge and consent shall become a danger to the ship or cargo, they may in like manner be landed at any place, or destroyed or rendered innocuous by the carrier without liability on the part of the carrier except to general average, if any.

Article 5

A carrier shall be at liberty to surrender in whole or in part all or any of his rights and immunities or to increase any of his responsibilities and obligations under this Convention, provided such surrender or increase shall be embodied in the bill of lading issued to the shipper.

The provisions of this Convention shall not be applicable to charter parties, but if bills of lading are issued in the case of a ship under a charter party they shall comply with the terms of this Convention. Nothing in these rules shall be held to prevent the insertion in a bill of lading of any lawful provision regarding general average.

Article 6

Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding Articles, a carrier, master or agent of the carrier and a shipper shall in regard to any particular goods be at liberty to enter into any agreement in any terms as to the responsibility and liability of the carrier for such goods, and as to the rights and immunities of the carrier in respect of such goods, or his obligation as to seaworthiness, so far as this stipulation is not contrary to public policy, or the care or diligence of his servants or agents in regard to the loading, handling, stowage, carriage, custody, care and discharge of the goods carried by sea, provided that in this case no bill of lading has been or shall be issued and that the terms agreed shall be embodied in a receipt which shall be a non-negotiable document and shall be marked as such.

Any agreement so entered into shall have full legal effect.

Provided that this Article shall not apply to ordinary commercial shipments made in the ordinary course of trade, but only to other shipments where the character or condition of the property to be carried or the circumstances, terms and conditions under which the carriage is to be performed are such as reasonably to justify a special agreement.

Article 7

Nothing herein contained shall prevent a carrier or a shipper from entering into any agreement, stipulation, condition, reservation or exemption as to the responsibility and liability of the carrier or the ship for the loss or damage to, or in connexion with, the custody and care and handling of goods prior to the loading on, and subsequent to, the discharge from the ship on which the goods are carried by sea.

Article 8

The provisions of this Convention shall not affect the rights and obligations of the carrier under any statute for the time being in force relating to the limitation of the liability of owners of sea-going vessels.

Article 9

The monetary units mentioned in this Convention are to be taken to be gold value.

Those contracting States in which the pound sterling is not a monetary unit reserve to themselves the right of translating the sums indicated in this Convention in terms of pound sterling into terms of their own monetary system in round figures.

The national laws may reserve to the debtor the right of discharging his debt in national currency according to the rate of exchange prevailing on the day of the arrival of the ship at the port of discharge of the goods concerned.

Article 10

The provisions of this Convention shall apply to all bills of lading issued in any of the contracting States.

Article 11

After an interval of not more than two years from the day on which the Convention is signed, the Belgian Government shall place itself in communication with the Governments of the High Contracting Parties which have declared themselves prepared to ratify the Convention, with a view to deciding whether it shall be put into force. The ratifications shall be deposited at Brussels at a date to be fixed by agreement among the said Governments. The first deposit of ratifications shall be recorded in a procès-verbal signed by the representatives of the Powers which take part therein and by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The subsequent deposit of ratifications shall be made by means of a written notification, addressed to the Belgian Government and accompanied by the instrument of ratification.

A duly certified copy of the procès-verbal relating to the first deposit of ratifications, of the notifications referred to in the previous paragraph, and also of the instruments of ratification accompanying them, shall be immediately sent by the Belgian Government through the diplomatic channel to the Powers who have signed this Convention or who have acceded to it. In the cases contemplated in the preceding paragraph, the said Government shall inform them at the same time of the date on which it received the notification.

Article 12

Non-signatory States may accede to the present Convention whether or not they have been represented at the International Conference at Brussels.

A State which desires to accede shall notify its intention in writing to the Belgian Government, forwarding to it the document of accession, which shall be deposited in the archives of the said Government.

The Belgian Government shall immediately forward to all the States which have signed or acceded to the Convention a duly certified copy of the notification and of the act of accession, mentioning the date on which it received the notification.

Article 13

The High Contracting Parties may at the time of signature, ratification or accession declare that their acceptance of the present Convention does not include any or all of the self-governing dominions, or of the colonies, overseas possessions, protectorates or territories under their sovereignty or authority, and they may subsequently accede separately on behalf of any self-governing dominion, colony, overseas possession, protectorate or territory excluded in their declaration. They may also denounce the Convention separately in accordance with its provisions in respect of any self-governing dominion, or any colony, overseas possession, protectorate or territory under their sovereignty or authority.

Article 14

The present Convention shall take effect, in the case of the States which have taken part in the first deposit of ratifications, one year after the date of the protocol recording such deposit.

As respects the States which ratify subsequently or which accede, and also in cases in which the Convention is subsequently put into effect in accordance with Article 13, it shall take effect six months after the notifications specified in paragraph 2 of Article 11 and paragraph 2 of Article 12 have been received by the Belgian Government.

Article 15

In the event of one of the contracting States wishing to denounce the present Convention, the denunciation shall be notified in writing to the Belgian Government, which shall immediately communicate a duly certified copy of the notification to all the other States, informing them of the date on which it was received.

The denunciation shall only operate in respect of the State which made the notification, and on the expiry of one year after the notification has reached the Belgian Government.


Article 16

Any one of the contracting States shall have the right to call for a fresh conference with a view to considering possible amendments.

A State which would exercise this right should notify its intention to the other States through the Belgian Government, which would make arrangements for convening the Conference.

DONE at Brussels, in a single copy, August 25th, 1924.