Maritime claims: liability limits increase after Malta signs up to 1996 Protocol
Amounts of compensation for maritime claims for loss of life or personal injury, and property claims, will be significantly increased from May, following the accession of Malta to the 1996 Protocol to the 1976 Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC).
Malta, which deposited its instrument of accession on 13 February 2004, is the tenth State to accede to the 1996 Protocol, triggering the entry into force of the protocol 90 days from that date (on 13 May 2004).
The 1996 LLMC Protocol substantially increases the amount of compensation payable in the event of an incident and also introduces a "tacit acceptance" procedure for updating these amounts. This means that, in future, amounts can be raised with a given date for entry into force after consideration and adoption by the Legal Committee, providing a specified number of objections are not received. This should ensure that if the need arises, amounts can be increased without undue delays.
Under the 1996 LLMC Protocol, the limit of liability for claims for loss of life or personal injury for ships not exceeding 2,000 gross tonnage is 2 million SDR (US$3 million* ). For larger ships, the following additional amounts are used in calculating the limitation amount:
Under the 1996 LLMC Protocol, the limit of liability for property claims for ships not exceeding 2,000 gross tonnage is 1 million SDR (US$1.5 million). For larger ships, the following additional amounts are used in calculating the limitation amount:
For other claims,
the limit of liability was fixed under the 1976 Convention at 167,000 SDR (US$250,500)
for ships not exceeding 500 tons. For larger ships the additional amounts were:
The Convention replaced the International Convention Relating to the Limitation of the Liability of Owners of Seagoing Ships, which was signed in Brussels in 1957, and came into force in 1968.
Under the Convention, limits are specified for two types of claims claims for loss of life or personal injury, and property claims (such as damage to other ships, property or harbour works).
The Convention provides for a virtually unbreakable system of limiting liability. It declares that a person will not be able to limit liability only if "it is proved that the loss resulted from his personal act or omission, committed with the intent to cause such a loss, or recklessly and with knowledge that such loss would probably result".
IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
Web site: www.imo.org
For further information