Rights and obligation of parties under the contract of carriage of goods by sea

Complete Chapter One






Archbold (Freightage) Ltd. v. S. Spnaglett Ltd

(1981) 1 Q.B. 374 41

Asfar v. Blindell (1896) 1 Q.B. 123 45

Boardance v. Phipps (1967) 2 A.C. 46 58

Casebourn v. Avery and Houston (1887) S.T.L.R. 795 41

Dakin v. Oxley (1864) 15 C.B.N. 648 44

Heskell v. Continental Express Ltd. (1950) 1 All

E.R. 1033    53, 54

Hong Kong Fir Shipping Co. Ltd. v. Kawosoki

Jisen Kaisha Ltd (1962) 2 Q.B. 26 26

Hunter v. Prinsep (1808) 10 East 378 43

Kopitoff v. Wilson (1876)1 Q.B.D. 377 24

Maxime Footwear Co. Ltd. v. Canadian

Government Merchant Ltd. (1959) 2 All E.R. 740 26

Naruma and Sons Ltd. v. Niger Benue Transport

Company Ltd. (1989) 2 NWLR (Pt. 106) 703 at 764    25,26

Notana v. Henderson (1872) LR 7 Q.B. 225 55

Okoronkwo v. Standard Bank of Nigeria Ltd (1947

N.C.L.R. 315 at 327 13

Rhodes v. Fielder, Jones and Harrison (1919)

89 LJ.K.B. 15 60

Sanders Bro’s v. Maclean (1883) 11 Q.B.D. 327 11

Scaramanga and Co. v. Stamp (1880)5 C.P.D.

295 at 315 31


Nigerian Statutes

Carriage of Goods Act Cap. C2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Article 1

Article III

Rule 1 (a) (b) (c)

Rule 4

Rule 8

Article IV

Rule 1

Rule 4

Rule 6

Article V

Merchant Shipping Act Cap M II Laws of The Federation of Nigeria 2004, S. 363

Foreign Statutes

Australia Sea Carriage of Goods Act 1904

Canadian Water Carriage Act 1910

Hague – Visby 1968

Article IV

Rule 2

Rule 3

Rule 4

Harter Act 1895

Merchant Shipping Act of England 1844, S. 493

New Zealand Seaman Act 1908

United States of Carriage of Goods By Sea Act.



Title Page i

Certification ii

Approval iii

Dedication iv

Acknowledgement v

Table of Cases vi

Table of Statutes viii

Table of Contents x

Abstract xiii


The Nature of the Contract of Carriage of Goods by Sea

1.1 Introduction 1

1.2 Definition 2

The Distinction Between Contract of Carriage

of Goods by Sea from other Contracts 4

1.4 Types of Contract of Carriage 7

1.5 The Scope of the Act 14


The Rights and Duties of Parties Under the Contract of Carriage of Goods by Sea

2.1 The Rights and Responsibilities of the Carriage 17

2.2 The Carrier’s Responsibilities 21

2.3 The Carrier’s Immunities 34

2.4 The Rights of the Carrier 37

2.5 Limitation of Liability 37


Duties of the Shipper

3.1 Duty to Engage In Lawful Trade 40

3.2 Duty to Tender Cargo 41

3.3 Duty to Pay Freight 42

3.4 Duty to Supply Information 45

3.5 Duty Towards Dangerous Goods 47

3.6 Rights of the Shipper 48

3.7 Immunities of the Shipper 49


The Role of Agents in the Contract of Carriage of Goods by Sea

4.1 Definition of Agency 51

4.2 Types of Agents 52

4.3 Duties of An Agent 58

4.4 Liability of Agents Under Carriage of Goods 60

4.5 Independent Contractors 61


Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion

5.1 Summary 65

5.2 Recommendations 69

5.3 Conclusion 70

Bibliography 72


Transportation is an integral factor in international trade and the contract of carriage of goods by sea, forms part of the complex web of transactions witnessed at international trade. The purpose of this project is to illuminate the nature and the inherent features present in the contract of Carriage of Goods by Sea and to also highlight the rights as well as the duties owed by the parties. It also seeks to point the obligations the law imposes on the parties as well as the liabilities they would incur on the event of breach in this form of contract.








Man has always been by his nature an interactive and interdependent being, and trade has been one of those means by which he interacts and shows his interdependency. He engages in the exchange of goods and services for a valuable consideration.

The concept of international trade is not new to man, only that here, this form of exchange seems to resonate on a much broader platform involving a complex web of structures and processes which makes this sort of transaction possible and one of this structure is the carriage of goods by sea, thus it is important to point out that, this form of transportation of goods is not only vital to international trade, but it also forms an integral part of it, that the absence it would make international trade very difficult to undertake.

Though our focus is the rights and obligations of parties under the carriage of goods by sea, full appreciation of this rights and duties will not be attained, if some attention is not given to highlight the nature of this form of transaction.


The contract of carriage of goods by sea can easily be seen as a contract involving two parties who for an agreed sum agree to be bound by the terms reached by them. But this definition may be very misleading, for though the contract of carriage involve this important element it is not the same as the usual contracts reached and agreed by parties.

Perhaps looking at some definitions posed by some authorities, more light would be shed on the nature of this kind of contract. Clive M. Schmitthoff tried to give a vivid description as to the nature of this contract, here he said that a contract of carriage entails a situation where an exporter concludes with a ship owner to carry goods in his ship from one port to another, usually overseas, such contract is known as the contract of carriage by sea. R.M. Goode on the other hand sees a contract of carriage involving two parties the shipper and the carrier. The shipper is the person to whom the carrier undertakes the duty of transporting the goods.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as an agreement for carriage of goods by water, which may employ a bill of lading, a charter party or both to ship goods.

Finally, Article 1 Carriage of Goods By Sea Act defines contract of carriage as those that:

“Apply only to contracts 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 a 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”.






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