IMO set to improve ship passengers' liability and compensation regime
for passengers on ships will become international law under the proposed revision
to the Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage
by Sea, 1974, set to be adopted at a diplomatic conference being held from 21
October to 1 November at IMO headquarters in London.
The proposed amendments
to the Convention are contained in a draft Protocol to the Athens Convention.
The draft Protocol introduces, among other things, the requirement of compulsory
insurance for passenger claims, and proposes changes to the fault-based liability
system, introducing the concepts of strict liability and reverse burden of proof
in certain circumstances, and makes a distinction between shipping-related and
The limits of liability
are expected to be raised significantly under the draft Protocol, to reflect
present day conditions and the mechanism for raising limits in the future will
be made easier.
adoption of the Protocol will ensure that all passengers likely to be affected
by a shipping incident will receive prompt and adequate compensation, based
on internationally acceptable criteria.
Convention of 1974 was designed to consolidate and harmonize two earlier Brussels
Conventions dealing with passengers and their luggage and adopted in 1961 and
The Convention establishes a regime of liability for damage suffered by passengers
carried on a seagoing vessel. It declares a carrier liable for damage or loss
suffered by a passenger if the incident causing the damage occurred in the course
of the carriage and was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier.
However, unless the carrier acted with intent to cause such damage, or recklessly
and with knowledge that such damage would probably result, he can limit his
liability. For the death of, or personal injury to, a passenger, this limit
of liability is set at 46,666 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) (about US$61,100)
As far as loss of or damage to luggage is concerned, the carrier's limit of
liability varies, depending on whether the loss or damage occurred in respect
of cabin luggage, of a vehicle and/or luggage carried in or on it, or in respect
of other luggage.
has been in force since 1987. At present, 28 States are party to it.
Conference on the Revision of the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage
of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1974) opens on Monday 21 October and
continues on Friday 25 October through to Friday 1 November, following the 85th
session of the IMO Legal Committee which meets meet from Tuesday 22 to Thursday
24 October (see briefing 30/2002).
IMO - the International
Maritime Organization - is the United Nations Specialized Agency with responsibility
for the safety of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
For further information please contact:
Lee Adamson, Public Information Manager on 020 7587 3153 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Natasha Brown, Information Officer on 020 7587 3274 (email@example.com).