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Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. v. CA and The First Nationwide Assurance Corp. G.R. No.

97412 July 12, 1994 Vitug, J. FACTS: 13 coils of uncoated 7-wire stress relieved wire strand for pre-stressed concrete were shipped on board a vessel owned and operated by Eastern Shipping Lines at Kobe, Japan, for delivery to Stresstek Post-Tensioning Phils., Inc. in Manila while en route from Kobe to Manila, the carrying vessel encountered very rough seas and stormy weather; the coils wrapped in burlap cloth and cardboard paper were stored in the lower hold of the hatch of the vessel which was flooded with water; the water entered the hatch when the vessel encountered heavy weather en route to Manila; upon request, a survey of bad order cargo was conducted at the pier in the presence of the representatives of the consignee and E. Razon, Inc. and it was found that 7 coils were rusty on one side each; upon survey conducted at the consignees warehouse it was found that the wetting of the cargo was caused by fresh water that entered the hatch when the vessel encountered heavy weather; all 13 coils were extremely rusty and totally unsuitable for the intended purpose The First Nationwide Assurance Corp. indemnified the consignee in the amount of P171,923.00 for damage and loss to the insured cargo ISSUE: WON Eastern Shipping Lines is liable HELD: Yes. under Art. 1733, common carriers are bound to observe extra-ordinary vigilance over goods according to all circumstances of each case Art. 1735: In all cases other than those mentioned in Art. 1734, if the goods are lost, destroyed or deteriorated, common carriers are presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently, unless they prove that they observed extraordinary diligence Since the carrier has failed to establish any caso fortuito, the presumption by law of fault or negligence on the part of the carrier applies; and the carrier must present evidence that it has observed the extraordinary diligence required by Article 1733 of the Civil Code in order to escape liability for damage or destruction to the goods that it had admittedly carried in this case. But no evidence was presented; hence, the carrier cannot escape liability.