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Samar mining

FACTS:
The case arose from an importation made by Samar Mining Co. Inc. of 1 crate Optima welded
wedge wire sieves through the M/S Schwabenstein, a vessel owned by Nordeutscher Lloyd,
(represented in the Philippines by its agent, C.F. Sharp & Co., Inc.), which shipment is covered by
Bill of Lading No. 18 duly issued to consignee Samar Mining. Upon arrival of the vessel at the port of
Manila, the importation was unloaded and delivered in good order and condition to the bonded
warehouse of AMCYL. The goods were however never delivered to, nor received by, the consignee
at the port of destination — Davao. When the letters of complaint sent to Nordeutscher Lloyd failed
to elicit the desired response, Samar Mining filed a formal claim for P1,691.93, the equivalent of
$424.00 at the prevailing rate of exchange at that time, against the former, but neither paid.

Samar Mining filed a suit to enforce payment. Nordeutscher Lloyd and CF Sharp & Co. brought in
AMCYL as third party defendant. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of Samar Mining,
ordering Nordeutscher Lloyd, et. al. to pay the amount of P1,691.93 plus attorney’s fees and costs.
However, the Court stated that Nordeutscher Lloyd, et. al. may recoup whatever they may pay
Samar Mining by enforcing the judgment against third party defendant AMCYL, which had earlier
been declared in default. Nordeutscher Lloyd and C.F. Sharp & Co. appealed from said decision.

Notes

The following are the pertinent ports, as provided in the bill of lading:
Port of Loading: Bremen, Germany
Port of discharge from ship: Manila
Port of destination/Port of discharge of the goods: Davao

As plainly indicated on the face of the bill, the vessel M/S Schwabenstein is to transport the goods
only up to Manila. Thereafter, the goods are to be transshipped by the carrier to the port of
destination.

ISSUE:
Whether or not a stipulation in the bill of lading exempting the carrier from liability for loss of goods
not in its actual custody (i.e., after their discharge from the ship) is valid.
HELD:
It is clear that in discharging the goods from the ship at the port of Manila, and delivering the same
into the custody of AMCYL, the bonded warehouse, appellants were acting in full accord with the
contractual stipulations contained in Bill of Lading No. 18. The delivery of the goods to AMCYL was
part of appellants' duty to transship (meaning to transfer for further transportation from one ship or
conveyance to another) the goods from Manila to their port of destination-Davao.

The extent of appellant carrier's responsibility and/or liability in the transshipment of the goods in
question are spelled out and delineated under Section 1, paragraph 3 of Bill of Lading No. 18, to wit:
“the carrier shall not be liable in any capacity whatsoever for any delay, loss or damage occurring
before the goods enter ship's tackle to be loaded or after the goods leave ship's tackle to be
discharged, transshipped or forwarded”. Further, in Section 11 of the same bill, it was provided that
“this carrier, in making arrangements for any transshipping or forwarding vessels or means of
transportation not operated by this carrier shall be considered solely the forwarding agent of the
shipper and without any other responsibility whatsoever even though the freight for the whole
transport has been collected by him… Pending or during forwarding or transshipping the carrier may
store the goods ashore or afloat solely as agent of the shipper…”

We find merits in Nordeutscher’s contention that they are not liable for the loss of the subject goods
by claiming that they have discharged the same in full and good condition unto the custody of
AMCYL at the port of discharge from ship — Manila, and therefore, pursuant to the aforequoted
stipulation (Sec. 11) in the bill of lading, their responsibility for the cargo had ceased.The validity of
stipulations in bills of lading exempting the carrier from liability for loss or damage to the goods when
the same are not in its actual custody has been upheld by Us in PHOENIX ASSURANCE CO., LTD.
vs. UNITED STATES LINES, 22 SCRA 674 (1968), ruling that “pursuant to the terms of the Bill of
Lading, appellee's responsibility as a common carrier ceased the moment the goods were unloaded
in Manila and in the matter of transshipment, appellee acted merely as an agent of the shipper and
consignee”

In the present case, by the authority of the above pronouncements, and in conformity with the
pertinent provisions of the Civil Code, Section 11 of Bill of Lading No. 18 and the third paragraph of
Section 1 thereof are valid stipulations between the parties insofar as they exempt the carrier from
liability for loss or damage to the goods while the same are not in the latter's actual custody.

Acareful perusal of the provisions of the New Civil Code on common carriers directs our attention to
Article 1736, which reads: “The extraordinary responsibility of the common carrier lasts from the time
the goods are unconditionally placed in the possession of, and received by the carrier for
transportation until the same are delivered, actually or constructively, by the carrier to the consignee,
or to the person who has a right to receive them, without prejudice to the provisions of article 1738.”
In relation to this, Article 1738 provides: “the extraordinary liability of the common carrier continues
to be operative even during the time the goods are stored in a warehouse of the carrier at the place
of destination, until the consignee has been advised of the arrival of the goods and has had
reasonable opportunity thereafter to remove them or otherwise dispose of them.”

Art. 1738 finds no applicability to the instant case. The said article contemplates a situation where
the goods had already reached their place of destination and are stored in the warehouse of the
carrier. The subject goods were still awaiting transshipment to their port of destination, and were
stored in the warehouse of a third party when last seen and/or heard of. However, Article 1736 is
applicable to the instant suit. Under said article, the carrier may be relieved of the responsibility for
loss or damage to the goods upon actual or constructive delivery of the same by the carrier to the
consignee, or to the person who has a right to receive them. There is actual delivery in contracts for
the transport of goods when possession has been turned over to the consignee or to his duly
authorized agent and a reasonable time is given him to remove the goods. In the present case, there
was actual delivery to the consignee through its duly authorized agent, the carrier.

Lastly, two undertakings are embodied in the bill of lading: the transport of goods from Germany to
Manila, and the transshipment of the same goods from Manila to Davao, with Samar Mining acting
as the agent of the consignee. The moment the subject goods are discharged in Manila, Samar
Mining’s personality changes from that of carrier to that of agent of the consignee. Such being the
case, there was, in effect, actual delivery of the goods from appellant as carrier to the same
appellant as agent of the consignee. Upon such delivery, the appellant, as erstwhile carrier, ceases
to be responsible for any loss or damage that may befall the goods from that point onwards. This is
the full import of Article 1736.

But even as agent of the consignee, the appellant cannot be made answerable for the value of the
missing goods. It is true that the transshipment of the goods, which was the object of the agency,
was not fully performed. However, appellant had commenced said performance, the completion of
which was aborted by circumstances beyond its control. An agent who carries out the orders and
instructions of the principal without being guilty of negligence, deceit or fraud, cannot be held
responsible for the failure of the principal to accomplish the object of the agency.

Eastern v. Iac

Doctrine:
When a carrier fails to establish any caso fortuito, the
presumption by law of fault or negligence on the part
of the carrier applies.

Facts:
- 13 coils of uncoated 7-wire stress relived wire strand for prestressed concrete were shipped on
board the vessel “Japri Venture” (owned by Easter Shipping Lines) for delivery to Stresstek Post-
Tensioning Phils. in Manila. The cargo was insured by First Nationwide Assurance Corporation
(FNAC).
- The vessel arrived in Manila and discharged the cargo to the custody of E.Razon Inc., from
whom the consignee’s customs broker received it for delivery to the consignee’s warehouse.
- It appears that while en route to Manila, the vessel encountered very rough seas and stormy
weather and the cargo stored in the lower hatch of the vessel was flooded with water about one foot
deep. That upon survey, it was found that several coils were rusty on one side and that the wetting
of the cargo was caused by fresh water that entered the hatch when the vessel encountered heavy
weather.
- FNAC paid Stresstek about Php 172K for damage and loss to the insured cargo.
- Being subrogated to the rights of Stresstek, FNAC now seeks o recover from Eastern what it has
indemnified Stresstek less the salvage value of the goods, or the total of about Php 124K.
- The RTC ordered for the dismissal of the case.
Upon appeal, the CA held that Eastern is liable to FNAC.

Issue:
Whether Easter should be held liable even if it claims that the shipment was discharged and
delivered complete into the custody of the arrastre operator under clean tally sheets.

Held:
- YES. In arriving at the decision, the SC agreed with the CA on its findings and conclusions.
- The heavy seas and rains referred to in the master’s report were not caso fortuito, but normal
occurrences that an ocean going vessel, particularly in the month of September which, in our area, is
a month of rains and heavy seas would encounter as a matter of routine. They are not unforeseen
nor unforeseeable. These are conditions that ocean-going vessels would encounter and provide for,
in the ordinary course of voyage.
- The rain water (not sea water) found its way into Japri Venture is a clear indication that care and
foresight did not attend the closing of the ship’s hatches so that rain water would not find its way into
the cargo,
- Since Easter has failed to establish any caso fortuito, the presumption of fault or negligence on
the part of the carrier applies; and the carrier must present evidence that it has observed the
extraordinary diligence required in Art. 1733 to escape liability.
The SC held that the presumption that the cargo was in apparent good condition when it was
delivered by the vessel to the arrastre operation by the clean tally sheets has been overturned. The
evidence is clear to the effect that the damage to the cargo was suffered while aboard petitioner’s
vessel.
Gelisan vs. Alday Case Digest
Gelisan vs. Alday

(154 SCRA 388)

Facts: Bienvenido Gelisan and Roberto Espiritu entered into a contract where the former hired the
truck of Gelisan for the purpose of transporting goods at the price of P18.00. It is also agreed that
Espiritu shall bear and pay all losses and damages attending the carriage of the goods to be hauled
by him. Benito Alday, a trucking operator, had a contract to haul the fertilizers of the Atlas Fertilizer
Corporation from Pier 4, North Harbor, to its Warehouse in Mandaluyong. Alday met Espiritu at the
gate of Pier 4 and the latter offered the use of his truck with the driver and helper at 9 centavos per
bag of fertilizer. The offer was accepted by plaintiff Alday and he instructed his checker Celso
Henson to let Roberto Espiritu haul the fertilizer. Espiritu made two hauls of 200 bags of fertilizer per
trip. The fertilizer was delivered to the driver and helper of Espiritu with the necessary way bill
receipts, Exhibits A and B. Espiritu, however, did not deliver the fertilizer to the Atlas Fertilizer
bodega at Mandaluyong.

Subsequently, plaintiff Alday saw the truck in question on Sto. Cristo St. and he notified the Manila
Police Department, and it was impounded by the police. It was claimed by Bienvenido Gelisan. As a
result of the impounding of the truck according to Gelisan and that for the release of the truck he
paid the premium of P300 to the surety company.

Benito Alday was compelled to pay the value of the 400 bags of fertilizer, in the amount of
P5,397.33, to Atlas Fertilizer Corporation so that, on 12 February 1962, he (Alday) filed a complaint
against Roberto Espiritu and Bienvenido Gelisan with the CFI Manila

Bienvenido Gelisan, upon the other hand, claimed that he had no contractual relations with the
plaintiff Benito Alday.

Issue: Whether Gelisan being a registered owner is responsible for damages?

Held: The Court has invariably held in several decisions that the registered owner of a public service
vehicle is responsible for damages that may arise from consequences incident to its operation or
that may be caused to any of the passengers therein. The claim of the petitioner that he is not able
in view of the lease contract executed by and between him and Roberto Espiritu which exempts him
from liability to third persons, cannot be sustained because it appears that the lease contract,
adverted to, had not been approved by the Public Service Commission. It is settled in our
jurisprudence that if the property covered by a franchise is transferred or leased to another without
obtaining the requisite approval, the transfer is not binding upon the public and third persons.
Bienvenido Gelisan, the registered owner, is not however without recourse. He has a right to be
indemnified by Roberto Espiritu for the amount that he may be required to pay as damages for the
injury caused to Benito Alday, since the lease contract in question, although not effective against the
public for not having been approved by the Public Service Commission, is valid and binding between
the contracting parties.