I am not a lawyer and I live and work in Poland.
Perhaps law system is different in another countries.
We deliver equipment and spares for ships and sometimes for industrial use. In fact it is nice work, perhaps sometimes nervous, often exciting, but on other side, we get contact with many nice task-oriented people.
Sometimes payment problems happen.
Sometimes, after many reasonably ended transactions the buyer says:
"we are agent of shipowner only, it is shipowner who is obliged to pay".
OK, but we have no contact with a shipowner, we had contacts and contracts with the agent. In fact we even do not know, if our supplies have been indeed received by the intended ship afted delivery to the named place.
Is such agent's defense allowed by any international regulation?
Answer is: as far as I know, there is no international regulation regarding shipmanagement and agency.
Shipmanagement and agency institutions are regulated by private law or another laws in each country.
This statement is based on European Union document discussing subsidies to marine industry in Cyprus
published on 2009 (ref. 2009/C 132/06 11.6.2009).
The one I have found is in Polish, surely it also exists in another languages.
Additionally, name of "agency" or "agent" could be used in many other situations, for example famous CIA in USA, AFP in news media world, but we are not here now.
In Poland agencies are regulated according to:
According to Polish law, no special protection of agent's rights exists while PURCHASING goods or services for principal. Especially, it means, there is no special protection of agent in case of agent's faults or final receiver's problems. Each case has to be separately analysed. It is just simple intermediary service.
And again: I am not a lawyer.
Read your local law carefully and check agent twice: first the principal, then the agent.
In case of doubts think about your company and your employees or workmates first.
Good luck :-)
Barbara Głowacka 15.03.2010 jastra@ jastra.com.pl
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