The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA Act) was developed by lawmakers to outline when a vessel owner was liable for the loss or damage of shipments versus when he or she should be free of blame and responsibility. We recently listed the 17 COGSA defenses (the 17 different ways that a vessel owner can escape liability in the event of lost or damaged goods) word for word. However, we thought that it would be helpful to provide real-life common examples of how the COGSA Act defenses can protect you from liability:
- An Act of God, such as a severe hurricane, damages your vessel and the shipping units aboard.
- Your vessel strikes an iceberg, or another navigational hazard, preventing you from delivering your shipment.
- Your vessel suffers from a fire—and the fire did not break out because of the fault or neglect of the people aboard the ship.
- Your vessel is navigating the sea when it is caught in the crossfire of two warring countries and sunk.
- The contents of the shipping units are all damaged during the journey, not because of something you did, but because the shipper of the goods did not package them appropriately.
- A person aboard your vessel is in mortal danger and the only way to save him involves the loss of some of your shipper’s goods.
- A riot arises on the boat or in a port, causing extensive damage to your shipment.
- You lose part of a shipment because the shipping units were not properly marked or labeled.
- The employees of the vessel go on strike, preventing the shipment from reaching its destination on time and the contents of the shipment are damaged due to the wait.
You should note that the last COGSA Act defense is that “any other cause arising without the actual fault and privity of the carrier” saves the vessel owner from any liability. What does that mean in plain English? Basically, if the cargo you are shipping is lost or damaged for any reason other than your actions or neglect, you are not responsible for the goods.
Are you facing a lawsuit due to a lost or damaged shipment at sea? It is vital that you know your rights and that you don’t end up paying for something that was not your fault. Speak to a Texas marine insurance claim attorney at the Voss Law Firm today to learn more about your case: 888-614-7730.