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Recently, there have been many instances of ships carrying valuable machinery and equipment for hydroelectric and thermal power projects being lost. The party hiring the transportation declared the value of the goods to the carrier, but did not record it on the bill of lading. In the event of loss or damage, claiming full compensation for the value of the goods is risky, as both the carrier and the party hiring the transportation have not fully complied with legal regulations.




The ruling of the Supreme People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City regarding the case of a lost cargo due to transportation issues is as follows:

A transformer weighing 115 tons, worth 8.4 billion VND, was lost during transportation from the Saigon port to the Hai Phong port. The transport company (VTB) refused to compensate the client (NT) for the loss, claiming that they were exempted from liability according to Vietnamese law. The matter was taken to court and both parties had different views.

The plaintiff demanded full compensation for the value of the lost transformer, while the defendant claimed that they were not responsible for the loss due to the error of the crew in loading and securing the cargo. The defendant also demanded the plaintiff to return 4 billion VND that was already paid in good faith.

The court ruled that the transport company had an absolute responsibility to ensure the safety of the transformer during loading, securing, and transportation. Since the loss was due to the defendant’s errors in loading and securing the cargo, they were liable to compensate for the full value of the transformer and related expenses.

The defendant’s argument that they were exempted from liability under the Vietnamese Maritime Law could not be accepted because they could not prove that they or their employees were not at fault or did not intentionally cause the loss. The plaintiff’s claim for compensation based on the insurance value of the lost transformer was also accepted by the court.

Therefore, the defendant was ordered to compensate the plaintiff for the full value of the lost transformer and related expenses, and the plaintiff was entitled to keep the 4 billion VND already paid by the defendant in good faith.