Tort claim against the actual carrier: the claim is subject to the same regime applicable to the contractual carrier

SLM recently assisted a shipowner sued by a cargo insurer who claimed the reimbursement of the salvage compensation, amounting to euro 6 million, paid by the insurer in favor of the salvor who assisted the vessel and the cargo after a fire broke out in the engine room. The Tribunal of Genoa with judgement dated 22.1.2019 rejected the claim declaring it time barred. The Tribunal held that the claim in tort against the actual carrier (shipowner) other than the contractual carrier was subject to the same regime, the Hague Visby Rules, governing the liability of the carrier including the one year time bar period. Such decisions was rendered on the basis of a non-recent decision of the Court of Cassation, according to which the HVR applies both to the actual and the contractual carrier, and under the Himalaya clause included in the bill of lading which gave the shipowner the benefit of all contractual and law provisions applicable to the carrier.