Sea protest

Sea protest

A sea protest protects the charterer or shipowner from claims of damage caused by the perils of the sea.

Once clear of the customs the next duty of the agent is to take the captain straightway to the office of a notary public, or a consul in case of need. There, on payment of a small fee, the captain will make a sworn "protest in common form". This is a survival from the very earliest days of seaborne trade when the first thing that captains did on stepping ashore was, as it were, to lay complaint of the buffeting, bad weather and other untoward incidents they may have suffered on their voyage. Noting protest is still of great consequence because if damage has been caused to ship of cargo on the voyage, and the full extent only becomes evident whilst the cargo is being discharged the captain may return to the office of the notary public to extend his protest. If this is not done it may be very difficult to resist claims for damage to cargo due to accidents or caused by the perils of the sea. Unless formal protest was noted in the first place it is probable that if legal proceedings ensued the courts would not allow production of the ship's log (in which the incidents and accidents complained of, would have been recorded) as evidence.


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