It should be common knowledge - regretfully it isn't for this reason I wrote this article - in shipping business and practice that the carrier’s responsibility, for safe custody of the goods, comes to an end /cease as soon as the goods are discharged from the ship, AND OR ARE DELIVERED TO THE CONSIGNEE! The Consignee, in turn, to take delivery of the goods must present the bill of lading.
The moment consignee presents the bill of lading, and the cargo is discharged, the carrier ceases to have responsibility to the cargo and ‘goods are so completely under the control of the consignee that he may do what he likes with them’ (British Shipowners v. Grimond (1876) 3 Rett.968,972).
In practice , upon the discharge of the goods from the ship they are frequently in the custody of agents or contractors rather than the shipowner.
Therefore owners and ship managers should bear the above always in mind and make quick decisions to avoid lost fixtures while waiting the obvious answer..... from their P&I legal department!