¿B/L falso?

Pregunta

Una entidad de crédito nacional recibe un crédito documentario de un banco en la India, disponible para negociación a la vista con cualquier banco en España y con instrucciones de confirmar para la citada entidad. Se detallan los datos más relevantes de la emisión por Swift:

45A: DESCRIPCIÓN DE MERCANCÍA: PET BOTTLE WASTE, QUANTITY 500.00 METRIC TON UNIT PRICE USD 304.00 PER METRIC TON AS PER PROFORMA INVOICE NO I-0091150 DATED 07.02.2009

44A: EMBARQUE/DESPACHO/RECIBIDO: ANY PORT IN EUROPE

44B: PARA TRANSPORTE A: ICD LUDHIANA (INDIA) VIA NHAVA SHEVA PORT INDIA.

46A: DOCUMENTOS SOLICITADOS (sólo se copian los que son objeto de disputa):
+ BENEFICIARY’S MANUALLY SIGNED COMMERCIAL INVOICE IN TRIPLICATE.
+ FULL SET CLEAN SHIPPED ON BOARD BILL OF LADING COMPRISING OF 3 ORIGINAL AND 3 NON NEGOTIABLE COPIES MADE OUT TO THE ORDER OF [BANCO EMISOR] MARKED FREIGHT PREPAID UP TO NHAVA SHEVA INLAND HAULAGE FROM NHAVA SHEVA TO ICD LUDHIANA ON APPLICANT’S ACCOUNT. 14 DAYS DETENTION FREE TIME IS ALLOWED AT FINAL DESTINATION. NOTIFY: (1) [BANCO EMISOR], (2) [ORDENANTE]. MENTIONING ON BL: PLEASE MENTION IN THE COLUMN PRINTED ON BL PORT OF DISCHARGE ‘NHAVA SHEVA’, PLEASE MENTION IN THE COLUMN PRINTED ON BL FINAL DESTINATION OR PLACE OF DELIVERY ‘ICD LUDHIANA, PUNJAB, INDIA’. NAME ADDRESS, CONTACT NUMBERS OF LINE’S /ITS AGENT’S OFFICE IN LUDHIANA INDIA.
+ PACKING LIST IN TRIPLICATE SHOWING CONTAINER WISE TOTAL NO’S OF BALES GROSS AND NET WEIGHT OF GOODS.
+CERTIFICATE OF QUALITY/QUANTITY/WEIGHT ISSUED BY SGS OR LLOYD CERTIFYING THAT CONTAINERS WERE LOADED AND SEALED IN PRESENCE OF THEIR REPRESENTATIVE AND QUALITY/SPECIFICATION ARE CONFIRMING TO PROFORMA INVOICE NO. I 0091150 DATED 07.12.2009.

78: INSTRUCCIONES PARA EL BANCO: THE NEGOTIATING BANK WILL SEND THE DOCUMENTS IN TWO SEPARATE SETS AT OUR ADDRESS.

Se presentan documentos, el banco confirmador los considera conformes, los remite al banco emisor en un único lote el martes 26.01.2010 vía DHL y reclama el reembolso que se recibe el 29.01.2010.

El jueves 04.02.2010 se recibe un MT799 del Banco Emisor en el que se indica:

WE REQUEST YOU TO RETURN THE FUNDS CLAIMED BY YOU UNDER OUR ABOVE LC, AS THE DOCUMENTS PRESENTED UNDER THE LC ARE DISCREPANT AND ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE TO THE APPLICANTS.

El lunes 08.02.2010 el banco confirmador contesta el mensaje anterior indicando:

PLEASE TAKE NOTE THAT YOUR A/M MESSAGE DOES NOT COMPLY WITH ART 16.C OF UCP 600 ABOUT DISCREPANCIES IN DOCUMENTS.

El mismo lunes 08.02.2010 la oficina del banco confirmador recibe otro mensaje del banco emisor (con fecha de envío del sábado 06.02.2010) en el que se lee:

THIS IS FURTHER TO OUR SWIFT MSG 04.02.2010 REQUESTING YOUR OFFICE TO CALL BACK THE PAYMENT OF USD XXXXX CLAIMED FROM THE REIMBURSING BANK BY YOUR BANK, AS YOUR BANK HAS NOT ACTED PRUDENTLY AS PER ARTICLE 8 OF UCP FOR DC. THE DISCREPANCIES NOTED IN THE DOCUMENTS ARE AS UNDER:

1.    THE BL DOES NOT HAVE CLEAN SHIPPED BOARD NOTATION SIGNED BY THE SHIPPING COMPANY (ARTICLE 20 (II) OF UCPDC. IT ALSO DOES NOT CONTAIN THE NAME OF THE VESSEL ON WHICH THE GOODS HAVE BEEN SHIPPED.
2.    THE BILL OF LADING DOES NOT HAVE ANY MENTION ON IT NUMBER AND KIND OF PACKAGES OF GOODS SHIPPED (IT SIMPLY STATES 30 X 20 FT CONTAINERS) THUS NOT CONSISTENT WITH PACKING LIST.
3.    SINCE THE BL SIGNED FOR AND ON BEHALF OF CARRIER, WHICH FURTHER STATES THAT RECEIVED BY THE CARRIER FROM SHIPPER IN APPARENT GOOD ORDER AND CONDITION (UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED THEREIN) THE TOTAL NUMBER OR QUANTITY OF CONTAINER OR OTHER PACKAGES OR UNITS INDICATED IN THE BOX ABOVE ENTITLED ‘THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CONTAINERS/PACKAGES RECEIVED BY THE CARRIER’ IT INDICATES 30 ONLY IT NEITHER SPECIFIES CONTAINERS OR PACKAGES OR TYPE OF CONTAINERS, HENCE THE BL WHICH IS A VITAL DOCUMENT ITSELF IS DISCREPANT AND DEFECTIVE.
4.    THE LC REQUIRES THAT THE DOCUMENTS BE SENT IN TWO SETS, WHEREAS THESE HAVE BEEN SENT ONLY IN ONE SET HENCE DISCREPANCY.
5.    BL DOES NOT MENTION MEASUREMENT (CBM) WHICH IS ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT OF A TRANSPORT DOCUMENT.
6.    AS THE BL IS A COMBINED TRANSPORT DOCUMENT (CONTRARY TO LC TERMS), IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT PLACE OF RECEIPT SHOULD ALSEO BE WRITTEN ON THE BL, AS IT CLEARLY SHOWS THE PLACE OF DELIVERY AS ICD, LUDHIANA. HENCE THE BL IS DEFECTIVE AND INCONSISTENT.
7.    THE CERTIFICATE OF QUALITY/QUANTITY/WEIGHT ISSUED BY LLOYD MARINE SURVEYORS AND INSPECTION AGENCY LTD. DOES NOT CONTAIN CONTAINER-WISE DETAILS OF GOODS INSPECTED. BL REF. IS ALSO MISSING ON THIS CERTIFICATE. THIS CERTIFICATE DOES NOT SPELL OUT SPECIFICATIONS AS REQUIRED IN THE PROFORMA INVOICE. IT SIMPLY QUOTES PROFORMA INVOICE NO. THE DETAILS OF GOODS DIFFER IN COLUMN 2 AND DECLARATION SUB-CLAUSE (II) OF THIS CERTIFICATE. HENCE INCONSISTENT.
8.    IN ADDICTION TO THE ABOVE DISCREPANCIES, WE OBSERVE THAT CONTAINERS NUMBERS MENTIONED ON BILL OF LADING  FOR EXAMPLE MSCU7921614 (TYPE 40 FT HIGH CUBE) BELONGS TO MSC LINE AND THE SAME IS IN EMPTY CONTAINER YARD, LIMASSOL CYPRUS, WHEREAS THE CONTAINER NO. MSCU3232454 (TYPE 20 FT DRY VAN). FURTHER AS STATED BY APPLICANTS, THEY HAVE RECEIVED EMAIL FROM CUSTOMER SERVICE OF UNI MARINE LINE, WHO HAVE ISSUED THE BL WHICH STATES THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN DISCREPANCIES WITH REGARD TO CONTAINER NUMBERS ON THE BL, WHICH THE BENEFICIARIES HAVE SUBMITTED TO YOU AND COLLECTED PAYMENT.

KEEPING IN VIEW THE ABOVE DISCREPANCIES, WE REQUEST YOU TO RECREDIT OUR ACCOUNT WITH REIMBURSING BANK.

Ese mismo día (08.02.2010) el banco confirmador responde al mensaje anterior en los siguientes términos:

1.    THE NOTATION ON BOARD DOES NOT NEED TO BE SIGNED SINCE UCP 400 (FORMER ARTICLE 27.B), WHICH MEANS THAT THE REQUIREMENT WAS RULED OUT IN 1993 IN UCP 500. YOU ARE REQUESTED TO STRICTLY ADHERE TO UCP 600, ARTICLE 20.II. BESIDES, NOTE THAT THERE IS NO DOUBT AS TO THE VESSEL WHERE THE GOODS WERE SHIPPED, MSC NORA, THEREFORE THERE IS NO NEED TO RE-STATE THE NAME OF THE VESSEL IN THE ON BOARD NOTATION.
2.    IT IS NOT REQUESTED THAT THE B/L MENTION NUMBER AND KIND OF PACKAGES INSIDE THE CONTAINERS, WHICH WOUL BE A ‘PARTICULAR DECLARED BY THE SHIPPER’ ANYWAY.
3.    YOUR DISCREPANCY NO. 3 HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CONDITIONS OF THE CREDIT. HOWEVER, YOUR COMMENT HAS NO SENSE AT ALL IN THE CONTEXT OF A B/L. THE 30 IN THE BOX STAND FOR THE 30 CONTAINERS, WHICH COULD ALSO BE REFERRED AS PACKAGES. THE WORDING ‘CONTAINERS/PACKAGES’ IS NOT PRESENTED AS AN OPPOSITION BUT AS A WORD DRESCRIPTOR
4.    SINCE WE ARE TH CONFIRMING BANK, IT IS OUR RISK TO SEND DOCUMENTS IN ONE OR TWO MAILS. IT IS CLEAR THAT YOU RECEIVED DOCUMENTS, SO THERE IS NO PROBLEM. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE APPLICANT COMPLYING OR NOT WITH CREDIT TERMS.
5.    THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT FOR THE B/L TO MENTION MEASUREMENT IN ALL CASES. FURTHERMORE YOU SHOULD NOTE THAT MEASUREMENT INDICATION IN A B/L IS NOT RELEVANT WHERE GOODS ARE CARRIED IN CONTAINERS, SINCE THERE IS A MATHEMATICAL RELATION BETWEEN A 20 FEET CONTAINER AND THE NUMER OF CUBIC METRES (OR CBM) WHICH IT MAY CONTAIN.
6.    YOU SHOULD NOTICE THAT YOU ASKED FOR A DOCUMENT EVIDENCING SHIPMENT TO ‘LUDHIANA VIA NHAVA SHEVA’. THAT IS STRICTLY WHAT YOU GET. IF YOU TAKE IT AS A PORT TO PORT, ARTICLE 20 B/L, THEN YOU SHOULD NOT READ WHAT HAPPENED AFTER NHAVA SHEVA PORT. ALTERNATIVELY, IF YOU WANT TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT WHAT HAPPENS AFTER NHAVA SHEVA, THEN YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT IT AS AN ARTICLE 19, COMBINED TRANSPORT DOCUMENT. IN ANY CASE, THE PRESENTATION IS IN STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH YOUR REQUIREMENT.
7.    THE CONTENT OF THE CERTIFICATE IS IN STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH YOUR REQUIREMENTS IN THE LIGHT OF ARTICLE 14.F AND IS CLARLY RELATED TO THIS SHIPMENT.
8.    YOUR COMMENTS HAVE NO RELEVANCE WHATSOEVER IN A DOCUMENTARY CREDIT.

ACCORDING TO OUR COMMENTS WE ARE NOT ABLE TO CONSIDER YOUR CLAIM AND WE REMAIN AT YOUR DISPOSAL FOR ANY COOPERATION YOU MAY NEED.

El 09.02.2010 el banco emisor responde:

WE DO NOT AGREE WITH YOUR CONTENTION WITH RESPECT TO THE DISCREPANCIES POINTED OUT BY US IN OUR SWIFT MSG OF 6/02/2010.

1.    THE LC DOES NOT REQUIRE COMBINED TRANSPORT DOCUMENT (FIELD 46A CLAUSE 2), WHEREAS IN THE INSTANT CASE COMBINED TRANSPORT DOCUMENT HAS BEEN ISSUED. FURTHERMORE ARTICLE 29 (II) CLEARLY SAYS [se entiende que se refieren al 20.ii] THE BL MUST INDICATE THAT THE GOODS HAVE BEEN SHIPPED ON BOARD A NAMED VESSEL AT THE PORT OF LOADING STATED IN THE CREDIT. FURTHER THE BL IS A RECEIVED FOR SHIPMENT BILL OF LADING. HENCE WE DO NOT ACCEPT YOUR CONTENTION.
2.    SO FAR AS THE REQUIREMENT FOR TWO SETS OF DOCUMENTS IS CONCERNED, IT HAS TO BE COMPLIED WITH AS PER THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE LC ISSUING BANK, AS THE ROLE OF CONFIRMING STARTS ONLY WHEN THE SAID BANK IS NOMINATED AS CONFIRMING BANK BY THE ISSUING BANK. HENCE THE CONFIRMING BANK HAS TO ACT PRUDENTLY.
3.    WE ALSO STAND BY OTHER DISCREPANCIES POINTED OUT BY US IN POINTS 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 OF OUR SWIFT MSG OF 6/02/2010. KEEPING IN VIEW TH ABOVE WE REQUEST YOU TO REFUND PAYMENT.

Ese mismo día 09.02.2010 el banco emisor remite otro mensaje como sigue:

THIS IS FURTHER TO OUR SWIFT MSG OF DATE WE ADVISE THAT

1.    THE LC DEMANDED FULL SET OF CLEAN SHIPPED ON BOARD BILL OF LADING (FIELD 46A – CLAUSE 2), WHEREAS THE DOCUMENTS CONTAIN COMBINED TRANSPORT DOCUMENT, WHICH DENOTES ‘UNDERMENTIONED PARTICULARS AS DECLARED BY SHIPPER, BUT NOT ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE CARRIER, WHICH CLEARLY SHOW THAT THE GOODS HAVE NOT BEEN SHIPPED ON BOARD THE VESSEL. FURTHER AS PER ARTICLE 20 (II) OF UCPDC PUB 600 OF ICC, A BILL OF LADIN, HOWEVER NAMED,MUST APPEAR TO INDICATE THAT THE GOODS HAVE BEEN SHIPPED ON BOARD A NAMED VESSEL AT THE PORT OF LOADING STATED IN THE CREDIT, AND IT IS NOT SO IN THE PRESENT CASE.
2.    THE CERTIFICATE OF QUALITY/QUANTITY DOES NOT HAVE ANY REFERENCE TO THE INVOCE NO. OR BL WHICH SHOULD CLEARLY RELATE THIS CERTIFICATE TO THE SAID SHIPMENT, HENCE NOT IN ORDER.
3.    WE ALSO REFER YOU TO POINT NO. 8 OF OUR SWIFT MSG OF 6/02/2010, WHICH HAS BEEN ADVISED TO US BY THE APPLICANTS, THAT CERTAIN CONTAINER MENTIONED BY THE BENEFICIARIES ARE EMPTY CONTAINERS AND HAVE NOT BEEN USED BY THE SHIPPING LINES AND THEY HAVE RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM THE CUSTOMER SERVICE OF UNI MARINE LINE, WHO HAVE ISSUED THE BL, WHICH STATES THAT THERE ARE DISCREPANCIES WITH REGARD TO CONTAINER NUMBERS ON THE BL SENT WITH THE ABOVE DOCUMENTS.

KEEPING IN VIEW THE ABOVE, WE REQUEST YOU TO REFUNF THE AMOUNT.

El banco confirmador responde el 10.02.2010 como sigue:

WE INSIST IN THE CONTENTS OF OUR PREVIOUS MESSAGE. HOWEVER AND IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR MT799 DATED FEB, 9 WE WISH TO POINT OUT AT THE FOLLOWING:

ACCORDING TO ARTICLE 20 BANKS MUST ACCEPT A BILL OF LADING, HOWEVER NAMED (INCLUDING EXPRESSIONS SUCH AS COMBINED TRANSPORT DOCUMENT), IF IT COMPLIES WITH THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 20. IN PARTICULAR ITS PROVISION (II) STATES THAT THE BILL OF LADING MUST APPEAR TO:

(1)    INDICATE THAT THE GOODS HAVE BEEN SHIPPED ON BOARD: THE BILL OF LADING PRESENTED CLEARLY INCLUDES AN ON BOARD NOTATION INDICATING THE DATE OF SHIPMENT.
(2)    A NAMED VESSEL: THE VESSEL IS CLEARLY NAMED AS MSC NORA, WITH NO ‘INTENDED VESSEL’ INDICATION, AND THEREFORE NO CONFUSION MAY BE ALLEGED.
(3)    AT THE PORT OF LOADING STATED IN THE CREDIT: AGAIN THE PORT OF LOADING NAMED IS CLEARLY AND UNMISTIKABLY ANTWERP PORT IN BELGIUM, WHICH COMES WITHIN THE RANGE OF ‘ANY PORT IN EUROPE´REQUIRED IN FIELD 44A OF YOUR MT700.

WE ALSO ADVISE YOU TO READ THE COMMENTS ON ‘COMMENTARY ON UCP 600’ (ICC PUBLICATION 680), PAGE 91, IN THE SENSE THAT WHERE IT IS EVIDENT FROM THE BILL OF LADING THAT THE SHIPPED ON BOARD STATEMENT APPLIES TO THE VESSEL AND THE PORT OF LOADING MENTIONED IN THE DOCUMENT, THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE ON BOARD NOTATION TO SHOW THE PORT OF LOADING AND THE NAME OF THE VESSEL.

AS TO YOUR COMMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORDING ‘UNDERMENTIONED PARTICULARS AS DECLARED BY SHIPPER BUT NOT ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE CARRIER’, PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS COMMON IN MANY, IF NOT ALL, BILL OF LADINGS AND ADDRESS THE IMPOSSIBILITY FOR THE CARRIER TO BE A CONNOISSEUR OF ANY KIND OF GOODS, PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY ARE INSIDE A CLOSED CONTAINER. UCP 600, ARTICLE 26.B, REFER TO THESE CLAUSES (‘SAID BY SHIPPER TO CONTAIN’) AS ACCEPTABLE.

AS FAS AS THE CERTIFICATE OF QUALITY/QUANTITY, WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOUR CLAIM THAT THE CERTIFICATE ‘DOES NOT CLEARLY RELATE TO SHIPMENT’ FOR NOT INCLUDING INVOICE AND BL NUMBERS. NOTE THAT NOTHING IN THE CREDIT ASKED FOR THE INVOICE OR BILL OF LADING NUMBERS TO BE STATED. ONLY A REFERENCE TO CONFORMITY WITH PROFORMA INVOICE WAS REQUIRED, AND THAT REFERENCE WAS CLEARLY INCLUDED BY NUMBER AND DATE. MOREOVER THE CERTIFICATE IS CLEARLY RELATED TO THE SHIPMENT BY THE DETAILS OF THE IMPORTER, THE DESCRIPTION AND QUANTITY OF GOODS AND, MORE IMPORTANT, BY THE REFERENCE TO YOUR DOCUMENTARY CREDIT NUMBER.

FINALLY WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR REFERENCE TO EMPTY CONTAINERS IS OUT OF CONTEXT IN A DOCUMENTARY CREDIT AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE LC PRACTICE AND REGULATION AS PER ARTICLES 4 AND 5 OF UCP.

Siguen diversos mensajes del banco emisor de fecha 10.02, 11.02, 12.02, 13.02, 15.02, 16.02, 17.02 y 18.02, en todos ellos se insiste en aspectos ya comentados y sólo cabe resaltar como cierta novedad el texto siguiente (que se repite en varios de esos mensajes):

THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE BL IS ALSO DOUBTFUL. THE CONTAINER NOS. MENTIONED THEREON HAVE NOT BEEN TAKEN ON BOARD THE SAID VESSEL, AS PER THE COMMUNICATION OF THE APPLICANTS WITH THE SHIPPING LINES. HENCE THE AUTHENTICITY OF BASIC DOCUMENT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE I.E. BL IS QUESTIONABLE. THIS WAY WHOLE TRANSACTION BECOMES QUESTIONABLE.

El banco confirmador envía un mensaje de simple reafirmación el 15.02 y otro el 18.02 en el que se responde a la pretendida falta de autenticidad del conocimiento de embarque en los siguientes términos:

NOTE THAT EACH AND EVERY OF THE DISCREPANCIES ALLEGED BY YOUR BANK HAS BEEN CONTENDED IN OUR PREVIOS MESSAGES AND PROVED ERRONEOUS AS PER UCP AND THE DOCUMENTARY CREDIT TERMS AND CONDITIONS. AS TO THE PRETENDED GENUINENESS OF THE BILL OF LADING, PLEASE REFER AGAIN TO ARTICLE 34 PROVISION THAT “A BANK ASSUMES NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE (…) GENUINENESS, FALSIFICATION OR LEGAL EFFECT OF ANY DOCUMENT (…) NOR FOR THE DESCRIPTION (…) OR EXISTENCE OF THE GOODS (…) REPRESENTED BY ANY DOCUMENT, OR FOR THE GOOD FAITH OR ACTS OR OMISSIONS (…) OF THE CONSIGNOR, THE CARRIER (…) OR ANY OTHER PERSON”. WE ALSO VERY MUCH SUGGEST YOU TO GO TO ICC BANKING COMMISSION’S OPINION R341 (PUB 632, PAGE 257) WHERE WE READ THAT “IN THE EVENT OF FRAUDULENT DOCUMENTS BEING PRESENTED, IT IS FOR THE APPLICANT TO PROVE VIA THE LEGAL SYSTEM (…) BANKS ARE MERELY REQUIRED TO CHECK THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THE DOCUMENT ON ITS FACE AND HAVE NO RESPONSIBILITY AS TO GENUINENESS, FALSIFICATION, ETC”.

A partir de ese momento el banco emisor sigue enviando un mensaje diario sin nada nuevo hasta el  06.03.2010 (recibido el 08.03) en que se recibe un nuevo mensaje en los siguientes términos:

THIS IS FURTHER TO OUR SWIFT VARIOUS MESSAGES SENT TO YOUR OFFICE IN CONNECTION WITH THE REFUND OF USD XXXXXXX WRONGFULLY CLAIMED BY YOU AGAINST THE DISCREPANT DOCUMENTS UNDER ABOVE LC. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE APPLICANTS HAVE TAKEN UP THE MATTER WITH T.O. LEE CONSULTANTS LTD., THE ACADEMY OF EXPERTS GRAY’S INN, LONDON, AND THEY HAVE OBSERVED THE FOLLOWING DISCREPANCIES IN THE DOCUMENTS:

1.    THE PACKING LIST IS NOT MEETING THE FUNCTION OF A PACKING LIST DUE TO MISSING THE FOLLOWING CRUCIAL INFORMATION:

1.1.    NOT SHOWING PACKAGING IN BALES OR CARTONS
1.2.    NOT SHOWING WEIGHTS AND MEASURES OF PACKAGES OF PACKAGES, SUCH AS BALES
1.3.    NOT SHOWING SHIPPING MARKS FOR EASY IDENTIFICATION OF THE GOODS IN LOADING, DISCHARGE AND STOWAGE IN WAREHOUSE. THIS IS REQUIRED UNDER INCOTERMS 2000 AND THE VIENNA CONVENTION FOR INTERNATIONAL SALE OF GOODS.

2.    BILL OF LADING HAS MANY OBVIOUS RED FLAGS EVIDENCING TRADE FRAUDS, SUCH AS:

2.1.    BL NUMBER IS TOO SIMPLE AND NOT CONSISTENT WITH TRADE PRACTICE
2.2.    MOVEMENT SHOWS FCL/FCL. IT SHOULD BE CY/CY ACCORDING TO SHIPPING PRACTICE
2.3.    NOT SHOWING MEASUREMENTS, WHICH IS A CRUCIAL DATA IN CALCULATION OF SEA FREIGHT
2.4.    ENDORSEMENT SHOULD BE MADE IN THE CAPACITY OF COMPANY, NOT A PERSON
2.5.    THE FRONT PAGE OF THE BL BEARS A ‘MAERSK CLAUSE’ (CARRIER MAY DELIVER THE GOODS WITHOUT ASKING FOR AN ORIGINAL BL), WHICH IS NOT ACCEPTABLE BY BANKS AS SUCH CLAUSE RENDERS IT NOT A NEGOTIABLE DOCUMENT OF TITLE, RELIED BY THE BANK AS A COLLATERAL FOR ITS FINANCING O THE PARTIES.

3.    CERTIFICATE OF QUALITY IS DISCREPANT DUE TO:

3.1.    NOT SHOWING PACKING IN BALES OR CARTONS
3.2.    STATING INTERNATIONAL ACCEPTED PARAMETERS IS NOT SPECIFIC ENOUGH IN AN INSPECTION CERTIFICATE. IT SHOULD HAVE QUOTED THE BASIS OF THE SPECIFICATION, CITING THE NAME OF THE INTERNATIONAL INSPECTION INSTITUTE, SUCH AS BS, ISO, ETC.

4.    MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, ALL THE DOCUMENTS ARE ISSUED ON THE SAME DATE, 18 JANUARY 2010. THIS IS MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, IT IS SIMPLE COMMON SENSE THAT THE QUALITY INSPECTION CANNOT BE CARRIED OUT ON THE SAME DATE OF LOADING ON BOARD IN WHICH THE GOODS ARE ALREADY STOWED INSIDE THE CONTAINERS AND SECURELY SEALED. THE INSPECTOR CANNOT CHECK THE GOODS UNLESS THE SEALS ARE BROKEN. ALSO DURING LOADING, THE MASTER OF THE SHIP WILL NOT ALLOW THE INSPECTOR TO EMBARK ON THE CARGO SHIP DURING THE LOADING PERIOD FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.

5.    HENCE I CONCLUDE THAT THE ISSUING BANK, THE NEGOTIATING BANK AND THE CONFIRMING BANK, IF ANY, SHOULD HAVE NOTED THESE DISCREPANCIES AND THE MANY RED FLAGS EVIDENCING TRADE FRAUDS. THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE EFFECTED PAYMENT UNDER THE LC AND THE APPLICANT SHOULD NOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR REIMBURSEMENTS TO THE BANK’S DUE TO THEIR NEGLIGENT ACTS, NOT ACTING FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE APPLICANT.

El banco confirmador responde a este mensaje el día 10.03 como sigue:

ONCE MORE WE HAVE TO HOLD TO OUR PREVIOUS MESSAGES AND INSIST THAT NONE OF THE DISCREPANCIES RAISED BY YOUR BANK IS RELEVANT AS PER UCP600. WE FEEL THAT WE HAVE NOTHING ADDITIONAL TO SAY AND THAT YOUR ALLEGATIONS ARE ONLY VARIANTS OF THE SAME THEMES. WE BEG YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE CANNOT REPETITIVELY ANSWER WITH THE SAME RATIONALE TO EACH OF YOUR MESSAGES. HOWEVER WE WISH TO BE OF SOME HELP TO YOUR GOOD BANK AND ARE READY TO COMMENT ON YOUR MESSAGE DATED MARCH, 8.

1.    ACCORDING TO 16.C ALL DISCREPANCIES SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN IN A SINGLE NOTICE NO LATER THAN THE CLOSE OF THE FIFTH BANKING DAY FOLLOWING PRESENTATION. THE BANK MAY NOT GIVE MULTIPLE NOTICES IN RELATION TO THE SAME PRESENTATION.

2.    AS COMMENTED IN OUR PREVIOUS MESSAGES, BOTH THE PACKING LIST AND THE CERTIFICATE OF QUALITY ARE DOCUMENTS SUBJECT TO ARTICLE 14.F, WHERE IN THE ABSENCE OF REQUIREMENTS IN THE CREDIT AS TO ITS ISSUER AND DATA CONTENT, “BANKS WILL ACCEPT THE DOCUMENT AS PRESENTED IF ITS CONTENT APPEARS TO FULFIL THE FUNCTION OF THE REQUIRED DOCUMENT”, AND BOTH DOCUMENTS CLEARLY FULFIL THE USUAL FUNCTION OF THE REQUIRED DOCUMENT.

3.    DESPITE NOT BEING A RELEVANT DISCREPANCY WHATEVER, WE WISH TO COMMENT SOME OF YOUR STATEMENTS.

(A) NOT SHOWING PACKAGES IN BALES, NOTE THAT THE PACKING LIST MENTIONS “NO. OF BALES PER CONTAINER: 20”.

(B) NOT SHOWING WEIGHTS AND MEASUREMENTS OF BALES, NOTE THAT BALES ARE PER DEFINITION IRREGULAR BUNDLES WITH IRREGULAR WEIGHT AND MEASURE.

(C) SHOULD YOU HAVE WISHED A PARTICULAR PARAMETER OR SPECIFICATION TO APPEAR IN THE QUALITY CERTIFICATE, A CLEAR AND SPECIFIC REQUIREMENT IN THAT SENSE WOULD HAVE HAD TO APPEAR AS A CREDIT CONDITION.

4.    AS TO THE SUPPOSED RED FLAGS IN THE BILL OF LADING,

(A) SIMPLE NUMERATION, WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT SIMPLE NUMERATION STANDS FOR, HOWEVER PLEASE NOTE THAT A COMBINATION OF 3 LETTERS FOLLOWED BY TWO NUMBERS GIVE RISE TO 1.757.600 COMBINATIONS OF NUMBERS AND LETTERS.

(B) A FCL/FCL MOVEMENT SEEMS TO BE MORE ASSOCIATED TO A WAREHOUDE TO WAREHOUSE TRANSPORT THAN TO A CY/CY MOVEMENT, HOWEVER WE DO NOT SEE ANY RED FLAG.

(C) AS FOR MEASUREMENTS IN THE BL, WE ONCE MORE REMIND YOU THAT, DESPITE NOT BEING COMPULSORY AS PER UCP, MEASUREMENT IN CUBIC METERS FOR A 20 FEET CONTAINER IS A CONSTANT OF 33 M3 FOR A STANDARD 20 FEET, AGAIN NO RED FLAG AT ALL.

(D) THERE IS NO MAERSK CLAUSE AS QUOTED ERRONEOUSLY IN YOUR MESSAGE, THE ONLY REFERENCE IS TO THE CAPACITY OF THE CARRIER TO REQUIRE ONE ORIGINAL BILL OF LADING DULY ENDORSED, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A MAERSK CLAUSE, WHICH BY THE WAY WAS A MATTER SUBJECT TO GREAT DISCUSSION WITHIN THE BANKING COMMISSION, THE TRANSPORT COMMISSION AND CLP COMMISSION, WITH NO FINAL CONCLUSION AS TO ITS ACCEPTABILITY OR NOT AS PER UCP.

5.    WE DO NOT SEE A MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANY OF THE DOCUMENTS BEING DATED THE SAME DATE OF SHIPMENT. IN ANY CASE THIS IS NOT FOR A BANK TO CONSIDER. AGAIN WE REMIT YOU TO UCP600 ARTICLE 34.

6.    FURTHERMORE PLEASE NOTE THAT NONE OF THE SUPPOSED RED FLAGS SEEMED TO BE NOTICEABLE TO YOU AS ISSUING BANK AT THE TIME OF RECEPTION OF DOCUMENTS.

WE REMIND YOU AGAIN THAT IN CASE YOUR APPLICANT FEELS THAT THE SELLER HAS FAILED TO COMPLY WITH ANY COMMERCIAL CONTRACT AGREEMENT, THEY SHOULD INITIATE LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE SUPPLIER, AND THAT WE SHALL BE GLAD TO COOPERATE AND PROVIDE YOU AND YOUR CUSTOMER WITH ALL THE INFORMATION WHICH MAY BE AVAILABLE IN OUR FILES.

A partir de aquí siguen más mensajes sin introducir novedad alguna.
PREGUNTAS:

La entidad financiera consultante pregunta si las discrepancias (alguna o varias) formuladas por el banco emisor son correctas y fundadas en las UCP y en las prácticas sobre créditos documentarios.

Análisis

El banco confirmador en su mensaje de fecha 08.02.2010 rebate la pertinencia del mensaje de fecha 04.02.2010 del banco emisor por un defecto de forma, pues no se ajusta a lo previsto en el art. 16.c) de las UCP 600:

“… el banco emisor deciden rechazar el honrar … , deben efectuar, a tal efecto, una única notificación al presentador. La notificación deberá indicar:
I.    Que el banco rechaza honrar …; y
II.    Cada discrepancia en virtud de la que el banco rechaza honrar …; y …

En su apartado d) este mismo artículo 16, claramente establece que:

“La notificación requerida en el artículo 16.c debe efectuarse por telecomunicación … no más tarde del cierre del quinto día hábil bancario posterior a la fecha de presentación.”

Por último, el apartado f) de dicho artículo indica que:

“Si el banco emisor … no actuase[n] de acuerdo con las disposiciones de este artículo, perderá[n] el derecho a alegar que los documentos no constituyen una presentación conforme”.

En general los argumentos utilizados por el banco confirmador para rebatir las discrepancias son asumidos por el grupo por unanimidad con la salvedad del punto 4. En el campo “Instrucciones para el banco” del mensaje Swift, se solicita que los documentos sean enviados en dos correos separados.

Los documentos fueron remitidos por DHL en un único envío tal como el propio banco confirmador admite. La relevancia de esta condición como discrepancia queda relativizada, para una mayoría del grupo, por el hecho de haberse recibido la documentación completa en destino. Sin embargo, algunos miembros del grupo consideran que era pertinente.

Con carácter general, el grupo también considera oportuno destacar la relevancia del art. 34 de las UCP 600 que trata de la exoneración de la efectividad de los documentos y del propio artículo 5 en el que se determina que los bancos tratan exclusivamente con documentos.

Respuesta

La opinión del grupo de expertos, por mayoría, es que las discrepancias formuladas por el banco emisor no son consistentes, pues no se fundamentan en lo estipulado en las UCP 600 ni en las prácticas bancarias.

Por otra parte, dado que la notificación realizada por el banco emisor en fecha 04.02.2010 no se ajusta a lo previsto en el artículo 16.c) de las UCP 600 y la posterior sucesión de mensajes, concretando y ampliando las discrepancias observadas en cada uno de ellos, es un claro incumplimiento de lo estipulado en dicho artículo, según lo que establece el apartado f) del mismo, el banco emisor ha perdido su derecho a alegar que los documentos no constituyen una presentación conforme.

La respuesta a la consulta planteada refleja el punto de vista de los componentes del Grupo de Expertos del Comité Español de la Cámara de Comercio Internacional, no de la Comisión Bancaria de la CCI. Esta consulta y su Conclusión se toman en consideración con carácter meramente informativo y, en su caso, deberán ser refrendadas por la propia Comisión Bancaria en una próxima reunión de la misma.

La respuesta dada no debe ser interpretada en otro sentido distinto al indicado, es decir, servir de orientación a las partes y, por tanto, no tendrá implicaciones jurídicas.

Ni el Comité Español ni ninguno de sus empleados, incluyendo al Presidente, Secretario, Vicesecretario y Asesora Técnica, serán responsables ante ninguna persona física o jurídica por cualquier pérdida o daño surgido de cualquier acto u omisión relacionados con el punto de vista expresado.