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II.5.20 (VISBY PROTOCOL 1968) PROTOCOL TO AMEND THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE UNIFICATION OF CERTAIN RULES OF LAW RELATING TO BILLS OF LADING 1968

The Ratification of Maritime Conventions

Chapter I.5.20

PROTOCOL TO AMEND THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE UNIFICATION OF CERTAIN RULES OF LAW RELATING TO BILLS OF LADING, 1968

ADOPTED: Done at Brussels, 23 February 1968
REFERENCE: VISBY PROTOCOL 1968
ENTERED INTO FORCE: 23 June 1977
DEPOSITARY: Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
SECRETARY: Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

IMPLEMENTATION

SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION AND ACCESSION

Article X

This Protocol shall be open for signature by the States which have ratified the Convention or which have adhered thereto before the 23rd of February 1968, and by any State represented at the twelfth session (1967–1968) of the Diplomatic Conference on Maritime Law.

Article XI

1. This Protocol shall be ratified.

2. Ratification of this Protocol by any State which is not a Party to the Convention shall have the effect of accession to the Convention.

3. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Belgian Government.

Article XII

1. States, Members of the United Nations or members of the specialized agencies of the United Nations, not represented at the twelfth session of the Diplomatic Conference on Maritime Law, may accede to this Protocol.

2. Accession to this Protocol shall have the effect of accession to the Convention.

3. The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Belgian Government.

ENTRY INTO FORCE

Article XIII

1. This Protocol shall come into force three months after the date of the deposit of ten instruments of ratification or accession, of which at least five shall have been deposited by States that have each a tonnage equal or superior to one million gross tons of tonnage.

2. For each State which ratifies this Protocol or accedes thereto after the date of deposit of the instrument of ratification or accession determining the coming into force such as is stipulated in paragraph 1 of this Article, this Protocol shall come into force three months after the deposit of its instrument of ratification or accession.

DENUNCIATION

Article XIV

1. Any Contracting State may denounce this Protocol by notification to the Belgian Government.

2. This denunciation shall have the effect of denunciation of the Convention.

3. The denunciation shall take effect one year after the date on which the notification has been received by the Belgian Government.

RESERVATIONS

Article IX

1. Each Contracting Party may at the time of signature or ratification of this Protocol or accession thereto, declare that it does not consider itself bound by Article VIII of this Protocol. The other Contracting Parties shall not be bound by this Article with respect to any Contracting Party having made such a reservation.

2. Any Contracting Party having made a reservation in accordance with paragraph 1 may at any time withdraw this reservation by notification to the Belgian Government.

TERRITORIAL APPLICATION

Article XV

1. Any Contracting State may at the time of signature, ratification or accession or at any time thereafter declare by written notification to the Belgian Government which among the territories under its sovereignty or for whose international relations it is responsible, are those to which the present Protocol applies.

The Protocol shall three months after the date of the receipt of such notification by the Belgian Government extend to the territories named therein, but not before the date of the coming into force of the Protocol in respect of such State.

2. This extension also shall apply to the Convention if the latter is not yet applicable to those territories.

3. Any Contracting State which has made a declaration under paragraph 1 of this Article may at any time thereafter declare by notification given to the Belgian Government that the Protocol shall cease to extend to such territory. This denunciation shall take effect one year after the date on which notification thereof has been received by the Belgian Government; it also shall apply to the Convention.

RESERVATIONS

Egypt, Arab Republic of

The Arab Republic of Egypt does not consider itself bound by article VIII of the present Protocol.

German Democratic Republic

The German Democratic Republic acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany on 3/10/1990. It had acceded to the Protocol, with reservation, on 14/02/1979, in force 14/05/1979. A note verbale was received on 3 January 1997 by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the FDR making clear that, though the GDR had been a party to the Hague-Visby Rules, by virtue of its accession to the FDR, it was not a party to the said Rules any more. The FDR did not become a party to the Hague-Visby Rules.

Declaration in respect of Article XII

The German Democratic Republic considers that the provisions of article XII of the Protocol are inconsistent with the principle that all States pursuing their policies in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations shall have the right to become parties to conventions affecting the interests of all States.

Declaration in respect of Article XV

The position of the German Democratic Republic in respect of the provisions of article XV of the Protocol, as far as the application of the Protocol to colonial and other dependent territories is concerned, is governed by the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960) proclaiming the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.

Italy

Upon ratification the Government of Italy made the following declaration:

“…in the application of article X of the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to Bills of Lading, adopted at Brussels on 24th of August 1924, as amended by the Protocols of 23 February 1968 and 21 December 1979, any state party to either the Convention of 1924, the Protocol of1968 or the Protocol of 1979 will be considered as a Contracting State by Italy.”

Netherlands

The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands reserves the right, as provided in the Convention, to prescribe that in the cases referred to in paragraph 2(c) to (p) of article IV, the holder of a bill of lading shall be entitled to establish responsibility for loss or damage arising from the personal fault of the carrier or the fault of his servants which are not covered by paragraph (a).

Poland

Confirmation of reservations made upon signature as follows:

The People’s Republic of Poland does not consider itself bound by article VIII of the present Protocol.

[Poland withdrew its reservation in respect of art. VIII on 30/04/1997].

Singapore

Singapore is bound to the Convention of 25 August 1924, by the extension of the United Kingdom on 2/12/1930 ( in accordance with article XIII of the Convention) to the Straits Settlements.

HAGUE RULES, HAGUE/VISBY RULES AND NATIONAL LEGISLATION

There are some states which, while they are not a party to the Hague or Hague/Visby Rules, have enacted their own legislation relating to the carriage of goods by sea which may have broadly similar effects to the Hague or Hague/Visby Rules. Such legislation will often have special provisions relating to jurisdiction and the circumstances when the local legislation will apply. Broadly, the limits will differ in such national legislation and may be expressed in different ways, e.g. Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) rather than gold francs. The information provided below is given by way of information only and is based on C Cresswell & J Whittaker “Hague Rules, Hague/Visby Rules or something completely different?” and “Hague Rules or something completely different”, Lloyd’s List 10/4/92 and 1/5/92.

India’s Carriage of Goods by Sea Act includes provisions similar to the Hague Rules. The package limitation is $100, to be taken as gold value.

China is not a party to the Hague Rules, but endorses their application in a clause on the government shipping corporation bills of lading. However, package limitation is fixed at a national rate rather than the Hague Rules limit.

Indonesia is not a party to the Hague or Hague/Visby rules and there is some uncertainty as to the applicable limits.

In Taiwan, the Maritime Code establishes a package limitation, but allows for the application of a foreign law if the limitation level is at variance with that of the Taiwan Code.

The Philippines are not a party to Hague or Hague/Visby. Philippine law, however, makes US COGSA 1936 applicable for international contracts of carriage to and from Philippine ports.

In New Zealand, the Hague/Visby Rules have been incorporated into domestic legislation and SDRs are the basis of limitation.

Thailand is not a party to either Hague or Hague/Visby but in 1991 a Thai COGSA was passed which includes elements of the Hague and Hague/Visby Rules. Under this Act, there is a one-year time limit for cargo claims and shipowner’s liability has been introduced.

In addition, it appears that Israel has sanctioned the use of the Hague/Visby Rules although she has neither ratified nor acceded to the Convention and that South Africa, Germany and Israel apply a wider form than the Hague/Visby Rules in their domestic legislation.

According to R S Cooper “More questions raised than solutions offered” in Indian Shipping and Transport News of 18 November 1992, the Indian Multimodal Transportation of Goods Ordinance promulgated on 16 October 1992 combines elements of Hague/Visby and the Hamburg Rules (I.5.220, II.5.220).

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