Queen’s enemies. (“King’s enemies”.) In the carriage of goods by sea, under the English common law the “common carrier” is subject to very strict liability for loss or damage of the goods.
There are very few exceptions to this liability. One is that the shipowner is not responsible for loss or damage to the goods caused by “King’s enemies” ox, in present circumstances, “Queen’s enemies”. While this expression can refer to acts done by people in countries with which England may be at war, it is not restricted to wartime acts. It can also include acts done by pirates and robbers on the high seas. These can be called “public enemies”. Under English law the term may not cover “pirates” but this may be unacceptable because pirates are certainly “public enemies” and there are many areas where pirates do damage and steal cargo, in addition to ship’s equipment, cash and personal effects of the crew. In 1990, places in the Philippines, the Malacca Strait, the Singapore Strait, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in West Africa and same countries in South America were included in such areas.