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The Sennar Notes

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THE SENNAR FACTS The background of the appellants' claim is to be found in a string of contracts made in 1973 for the sale of 2000 tonnes of Sudanese groundnut expellers c.i.f Rotterdam. The first contract in the string was made on or about 22 June 1973 between a Sudanese company, Malik Industrial Co. Ltd. ("Malik"), as sellers and a Swiss company, Pagco S.A. ("Pagco"), as buyers; the second contract in the string was made on or about the same date between Pagco as sellers and GfG as buyers; and the third contract in the string was made on or about 25 June 1973 between GfG as sellers, and an English company, European Grain & Shipping Ltd. ("European"), as buyers. All three contracts provided that 1000 tonnes of the 2000 tonnes sold should be shipped during July/August. In bill of lading No 7 the carriers were shown as Sudan Shipping Line Ltd. of Port Sudan; the shipper was described as Malik; the carrying ship was described as the Sennar; the port of loading was stated to be Port Sudan; the port of discharge was stated to be Rotterdam; the goods, which were acknowledged to have been shipped on board, were described as 1001248 kilos of Sudanese decorticated groundnut expellers, partly in bags and partly in bulk; and the goods were stated to be consigned "to order." The bill of lading was expressed to be signed by the master, and the place and date of issue were stated to be Port Sudan 30 August 1973. The bill of lading contained the following clause: "27. Jurisdiction. All actions under this contract of carriage shall be brought before the court at Khartoum or Port Sudan and no other court shall have Jurisdiction with regard to any such action unless the carrier appeals to another Jurisdiction or voluntarily submits himself thereto." The second such event was that it had become known to both European and GfG that, although bill of lading No. 7 was dated 30 August 1973, the loading at Port Sudan of the goods referred to in it had not been completed until 7 September 1973. In these circumstances European claimed, as against GfG, to reject the shipping documents presented to them in respect of the goods to which bill of lading No 7 related and repayment of the price paid by them on the taking up of such documents. Meanwhile GfG had taken other steps in order to recover their loss. On 16 January 1975 they began an action against the respondents in the District Court at Rotterdam, having founded Jurisdiction there by arresting the El Gezira. The amount claimed in the action was DM 731960.50 with interest. The ground of the claim was as follows. The master of the Sennar had committed a tort against GfG

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