Lesson 8 - Does the bill of lading or charterparty govern, if the bill is held by a charterer?
Not infrequently, charterers end up holding bills of lading, either because they are CIF sellers; or because they bought cargo FOB and have chartered the entire vessel for a large cargo; or because they were a general charterer and incidentally decided to buy some of the cargo on one of their chartered vessels.
In such circumstances the question arises, what document governs the charterer's relationship with the carrier for loss or damage to the cargo - the charterparty or the bill of lading?
The answer is: (1) if the charterer obtained the bill of lading directly from the carrier then the charterparty governs; and (2) if indirectly, then it may depend on the facts.
This conundrum is complex! So we recommend taking a look at Chapter 8 of Debattista where there is a fuller discussion.