A shipper of fruits and vegetables delivered a refrigerated van of produce to the S.S. Bayomon at the port of Elizabeth, New Jersey, on September 22 for shipment to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ship was supposed to sail that day but was unable to do so because of repairs needed to correct a boiler problem. The ship sailed on September 25 and arrived in Puerto Rico on September 27. A clause paramount incorporated COGSA into the bill of lading. Upon arrival in Puerto Rico, part of the produce was found to be rotten. The shipper claims that the carrier is liable because the ship was not “seaworthy.” COGSA states that the carrier shall not be liable unless it shows a failure to make the ship seaworthy before and at the beginning of the voyage. Squillante & Zimmerman Sales, Inc. v. Puerto Rico Marine Management, Inc., 516 F. Supp. 1049 (D.Puerto Rico 1981).
Does COGSA apply here, considering that the port is domestic rather than foreign?
Is the carrier liable for an unseaworthy vessel?
What is the outcome?
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