Copyright (c) 1998 Tulane University
Tulane Maritime Law Journal
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN MARITIME LAW: Recent Developments in the Carriage of Cargo
22 Tul. Mar. L. J. 535
Joseph P. Tabrisky *
I. The Cargo Owner's Burden of Proof with a Sealed Container
To establish a prima facie case under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), 1 a cargo owner must prove that the carrier received the cargo in good order and condition and failed to deliver the cargo at the destination in the same condition as received. 2 Satisfying this burden of proof in the modern context of containerization is daunting for cargo interests. 3
In AIG Europe, S.A. v. Locust Point Terminal Corp., 4 the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rendered the most recent pronouncement on the COGSA burden of proof in the age of containerized cargo. In that case, two shipments of tanned and dyed leather skins from Italy arrived in North Carolina with a shortage. 5 The shipper had palletized the skins and loaded them into containers. 6 Thereafter, each container was sealed by the shipper with band- or bolt-type seals. 7 Each container was then trucked to the port of Naples, Italy, where the defendant, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), placed its own bolt-like seal on the container. 8 The bills of lading covering each shipment described the cargo and contained the disclaimer "shipper's load and count." 9 Each bill of lading also set forth the gross weight of the cargo 10 although the carrier in fact had not weighed the shipments. 11 After discharge and transfer to the inland carrier, each seal was noted ...
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