Slot charterers' right to tonnage limitation
Shipping and Trade Law, 9, (2), .
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The MSC Napoli was a container ship that got into trouble in the English Channel and was intentionally beached on the shores of Devon in early 2007. Comical scenes ensued as containers floated ashore and looters discovered that motorcycles and Persian rugs were lying around on the beach ready for taking. A limitation fund was soon constituted in England under the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976. Like many container liners, the Napoli had its slot charterers who were quickly sued in Germany (one of few major jurisdictions where it is clear that slot charterers are not entitled to limit) under the bills of lading. In Metvale Ltd v Monsanto International Sarl and others  EWHC 3002 (Admlty), in a judgment dated 9 December 2008 on two preliminary issues, Mr Justice Teare decided that slot charterers were entitled to limit liability under the Convention and that the limitation fund constituted by shipowners in London would be deemed to be constituted also by the slot charterers.
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