T. Duygu Yazıcı
Senior Associate Lawyer
As it is known, the carrier who undertakes to carry goods is obliged to deliver the cargo at the port of discharge, in the same condition which the vessel received them at the port of loading. The prime evidence of the condition of the cargo at the port of loading is the bill of lading. The carrier is liable for the damage to the goods if such damage occurred while the goods were under the control of the carrier.
However, in order for the carrier to be held liable, the damages must have been notified to the carrier within a certain period of time as per the Turkish Commercial Code (“TCC”).
According to article 1184 of TCC (titled inspection);
“Before the consignee takes delivery of the goods, the carrier, master or the consignee may have the goods inspected by the court or by other authoritative bodies or experts in that regard in order to get ascertained the state and condition, measure, quantity or weigh of the goods. To the extent that such is possible, the other party shall be ready at such inspection.”
In cases where damage to the cargo is detected before or during such inspection, the timing of the notification to be made to the carrier is crucial.
According to article 1185 of TCC (titled notification);
“Notice of loss or damage should be given in writing to the carrier at the time the goods are being delivered to the consignee by the latest. In such case that the loss or damage is not ascertainable by an external inspection, the notice may be given within three consecutive days following the date of delivery to the consignee. Such notice should generally explain what the loss or damage consists of. If such inspection is carried out by the court or other authoritative bodies or experts in the existence of both parties, then there is no requirement for such notice.”
In conclusion, in order to claim that the carrier is responsible for the damages occurred during carriage, the cargo interests must notify the carrier on time in accordance with the relevant articles of TCC.