Delsan Transport Lines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 127897, 15 November 2001, 369 SCRA 24

FACTS:

Caltex entered into a contract of affreightment with Delsan Transport Lines, Inc., for a period of one year whereby the said common carrier agreed to transport Caltex’s industrial fuel oil from the Batangas-Bataan Refinery to different parts of the country. Under the contract, petitioner took on board its vessel, MT Maysun, 2,277.314 kiloliters of industrial fuel oil of Caltex to be delivered to the Caltex Oil Terminal in Zamboanga City. The shipment was insured with the private respondent, American Home Assurance Corporation.

On August 14, 1986, MT Maysun set sail from Batangas for Zamboanga City. Unfortunately, the vessel sank in the early morning of August 16, 1986 near Panay Gulf in the Visayas taking with it the entire cargo of fuel oil.

The Respondent (insurance) paid the Caltex the amount of P5,096,635.57 representing the amount of the value of the lost cargo.

ISSUE:

1. Whether or not the payment made by the private respondent to Caltex for the insured value of the lost cargo amounted to an admission that the vessel was seaworthy, thus precluding any action for recovery against the petitioner.

2. Whether or not the non-presentation of the marine insurance policy bars the complaint for recovery of sum of money for lack of cause of action

RULING:

No, under the law, extra ordinary diligence is required by the common carrier in taking good care of the goods. The common carrier is presumed negligent unless the contrary provides otherwise. The right of subrogation has its roots in equity. It is designed to promote and to accomplish justice and is the mode which equity adopts to compel the ultimate payment of a debt by one who in justice and good conscience ought to pay. It is not dependent upon, nor does it grow out of, any privity of contract or upon written assignment of claim. It accrues simply upon payment by the insurance company of the insurance claim.

The presentation in evidence of the marine insurance policy is not indispensable in this case before the insurer may recover from the common carrier the insured value of the lost cargo in the exercise of its subrogatory right. The subrogation receipt, by itself, is sufficient to establish not only the relationship of herein private respondent as insurer and Caltex, as the assured shipper of the lost cargo of industrial fuel oil, but also the amount paid to settle the insurance claim. The right of subrogation accrues simply upon payment by the insurance company of the insurance claim.

*Case digest by Hipolito R. Bael, III, Andres Bonifacio College, School Year 2018-2019

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