01 FEB 2006
Article 802 of the Algerian Maritime Code provides that the carrier is strictly liable and responsible for the cargo condition and quantity until delivery to receivers, so in most cases there is no benefit in joining stevedores in proceedings against the owners. However, the Algerian Supreme Court has recently upheld a separate recourse action against stevedores.
However, the first instance tribunal judging the separate recourse action against the stevedores condemned the stevedores to pay the cargo interests the amount payable by the carrier in the first action. The tribunal relied on the findings in the survey report. The stevedores’ appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. They then appealed to the Supreme Court and argued the following:
The Supreme Court decision1
There was no violation of any law since article 802 of the Algerian Maritime Code had been applied in the main action. In the recourse action the condemnation of the stevedores had been based upon the surveyor’s findings.
The stevedores’ appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected.
The successful separate recourse action against the stevedores upheld by the Supreme Court is now a final judgment. It constitutes a precedent which should be followed by the lower courts.
Recommendation to members
Algeria is a party to the Hague Rules. Members are therefore advised to note that a recourse action must be filed within three months from settlement of the main claim or service of a writ.
We are grateful to Mr. Mohammed M. Neffous, Neffous Shipping & Consulting, for the above information.