Importance of success stressed as Diplomatic Conference gets underway
William O'Neil stressed the crucial importance of a successful outcome to the
Diplomatic Conference meeting this week and next at IMO to amend the liability
regime relating to damage suffered by passengers on international voyages.
In his opening
remarks to the Conference, which has been convened to consider the adoption
of a protocol to amend the Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers
and their Luggage by Sea, 1974, Mr O'Neil said today that the successful adoption
of the protocol would ensure that all those likely to be affected by a shipping
incident will receive prompt and adequate compensation based on internationally
protocol which the Conference will consider has been finalized during several
sessions of the IMO Legal Committee and Mr O'Neil commended that body's work
in preparing the document.
At its opening
session, the Conference elected His Excellency Dr. Ra Jong-Yil, Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary from the Republic of Korea, as its President. Dr Ra Jong-Yil
told the Conference that there was an understanding in the international maritime
community that this is the right time to amend the Athens Convention, and stressed
that the Conference faced a heavy responsibility in ensuring that its work resulted
in a positive outcome.
The following were elected as officers of the Conference:
His Excellency Dr. Ra Jong-Yil, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
from the Republic of Korea
His Excellency Senhor Antonio DaCosta Fernandez, Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Angola
Mr Basil G. O'Brien, CMG, High Commissioner and Permanent Representative of
Markus, Head, Department of Marine Transport, Ministry of Transport, Estonia
Tsantzalos, Lieutenant Commander of the Hellenic Coastguard, Greece
Mr J. Mortada, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Lebanon
of the Whole
Mr Gaute Sivertsen, Norway
of the Committee of the Whole
Dr. Beate Czerwenka, Germany
San Miguel, Venezuela
Athens Convention of 1974 was designed to consolidate and harmonize two earlier
Brussels Conventions dealing with passengers and their luggage and adopted in
1961 and 1967, respectively.
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.
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) per carriage.
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
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 at
IMO Headquarters, London, 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).
of His Excellency Dr. Ra Jong-Yil, Mr Gaute Sivertsen, Mr William O'Neil and
the IMO Headquarters Building are available on request.
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.
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