Importer/Consignee- Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation
Shipper- Ansor Corp. of NY (S/S Toledo)
Apellee insurer: American Inusrance Co. Inc. - insured the cargoes against damages until the Port of Cebu for P5, 700 in favor of consignee
Forwarding Agent of Ansor Corp: Macondray& Co., Inc-agent in the Philippines of the S/S "Toledo", a common carrier in foreign trade between the United States and Philippine Ports;
Port of NY > Manila (via S/S Toledo) > Cebu (via M/S Bohol)
1. On or about September 12, 1962, certain cargoes covered by the bill of lading were imported by Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation and were loaded by the shipper, Ansor Corporation of New York on board the S/S "Toledo" at the port of New York for delivery to Atlas at Cebu City via Manila.
2. The freight up to Cebu City was paid in advance. The American Insurance Company insured the cargoes against damage up to Cebu City for $5,700.00 in favor of the consignee.
3. The S/S "Toledo' discharged them at the port of Manila on October 17, 1962.
4. For their transshipment to Cebu City they were loaded on board the M/S "Bohol".
5. Upon the vessel's arrival in Cebu City on November 12, 1962, the cargoes were discharged and delivered to the congsigneeminus one skid of truck parts which was not loaded on the M/S "Bohol". The missing cargo was valued at $482.96 CIF Cebu, equivalent at that time to P1,889.58.
6. The consignee filed the corresponding claim with herein appellant (agent in the Philippines of the S/S "Toledo", a common carrier in foreign trade between the United States and Philippine Ports) who disclaimed liability therefor alleging that the cargoes had been discharged in full at the port of Manila.
7. A claim for the insured value of the cargo amounting to P2,087.20 plus the sum of P87.30 as expenses of survey was filed with appellee under the covering insurance policy and the same was duly paid, thereby acquiring by subrogation the rights of the consignee.
8. Thereafter the corresponding action was filed in the lower court to recover from appellant what appellee had paid to the consignee.
9. Trial Court ordered Appellant Macondray to pay. Appellant appealed.
ISSUES AND RESOLUTIONS:
1. Whether the lower court had jurisdiction
True the case invoked only the sum of P1,889.58, but it is also true that appellee's action against appellant is one involving admiralty jurisdiction, the exercise of which pertains originally and exclusively to Courts of First Instance.
2. Whether American Insurance has cause of action against Macondray
Appellant relies on the provisions of paragraph 22 of the bill of lading to the effort that the carrying vessel, her owner and agent, are not liable for loss or damage occurring after the discharge of the goods. Appellant's contention rests entirely upon the erroneous assumption that the carrying vessel had discharged all the goods covered by the bill of lading in accordance with its obligation.
Under the Carriage Contract covering the cargoes in question, it was the duty of the carrying vessel to discharge them at the port of Cebu City, via the port of Manila. It is clear therefore, that the discharge effected at the latter port did not terminate the carrying vessel's responsibility which included the transshipment of the cargoes from the port of Manila to the port of Cebu City. While it complied with the obligation with respect to most of the cargoes covered, by the bill of lading, it failed to do so in relation to the one skid of truck parts which, according to the stipulation of facts, was not loaded on board the M/S "Bohol". In truth and in fact, the same has never been found.
3. Whether Appellant Macondray is the real party in interest
Appellant Macondray contends that the action should’ve been bought against the shipper, Ansor Corp
Appellant is correct in saying that actions must be prosecuted not only in the name of the real party in interest but also against the real party in interest. It is in error, however, in contending that it is not liable for the loss of the skid of truck parts.
If the fact were that said cargo was loaded and thereafter lost on board the M/S "Bohol" or upon its discharge at the port of Cebu City, We would agree that appellant is not liable. It was stipulated in this case, however, that the said skid of truck parts was not loaded at all on board the M/S "Bohol." In accepting the same on board the S/S "Toledo" at the port of New York for shipment to Cebu City, via the port of Manila, it become precisely appellant's duty to see to it that it was loaded in Manila on board the M/S "Bohol" or any other vessel, for the port of Cebu City. Not having complied with this duty, its liability for the loss is unavoidable.
Ansor Corp. complied with its part of the transaction by delivering the lost cargo to the S/S "Toledo" at the port of New York; thereafter paragraph 11 of the bill of lading operated to make appellant Macondray, the shipper's forwarding agent whose duty precisely was to have the cargo, upon arrival at the port of Manila, transshipped to the port of Cebu City.
As a general rule under the provisions of the Code of Commerce, the consignee of a cargo carried by a vessel has a cause of action against the latter's agent for the undelivered cargo or any portion thereof. This being the case, it is its duty to compensate appellee for the loss suffered.