| Archives: January 2008

Award N°1150 – Second degree – VSA (vessel sharing agreement) – Group of companies – Title to sue – Nautical fault – Peril of the sea – Container lashing – Liability of the owner (No). The vessel was under a VSA between a slot charterer, a subsidiary belonging to a group of companies, and the owner. The holding company has no title to sue when it has explicitly rejected the concept that the economic entitity that represents a group of companies is entitled to circonvene the legal entity of each companies forming the group. Even if a holding company owns 100% of a subsidiary, this does not legitimate that the holding company has a title to sue on its behalf. In terms of liability for damages resulting from the loss and the destruction of containers following an incident at sea, the Arbitration tribunal held that the owner, in accordance with c-p terms, was entitled to refer to 2 exculpatory exceptions : « error in navigation or management » of the ship (choice of course and speed) and « peril of the sea ». The blame put onto the owner as regards the stowing of containers on deck cannot be taken into account, because the change in the lashing process was well known to the charterer as well as the failure of some deck rings. Damages were caused by the brutal dislocation of part of the deck cargo following an important list due to a huge cross wave whose effect has been exacerbated because of the course chosen by the Captain (nautical fault). The Arbitration tribunal held that the owner was not responsible for damages occurred.