LLMC 1996, 2012 amendment. FAQs

Date: 22/05/2015
Author: Luke Lane

LLMC 1996, 2012 amendment. FAQs

1. What changes have been brought in by the 2012 amendment to the LLMC 1996?

The Limits of liability under the original LLMC 1996 protocol have been increased by 51% prompted by a number of high profile bunker pollution incidents, notably the Pacific Adventurer incident of Queensland, Australia in 2009. 

Under the amendments to the 1996 Protocol, the limits are raised as follows: The limit of liability for claims for loss of life or personal injury on ships not exceeding 2,000 gross tonnage is 3.02 million SDR (up from 2 million SDR). For larger ships, the following additional amounts are used in calculating the limitation amount: 

• For each ton from 2,001 to 30,000 tons, 1,208 SDR (up from 800 SDR)

• For each ton from 30,001 to 70,000 tons, 906 SDR (up from 600 SDR) 

• For each ton in excess of 70,000, 604 SDR (up from 400 SDR). 

The limit of liability for property claims for ships not exceeding 2,000 gross tonnage is 1.51 million SDR (up from 1 million SDR). For larger ships, the following additional amounts are used in calculating the limitation amount: 

• For each ton from 2,001 to 30,000 tons, 604 SDR (up from 400 SDR) 

• For each ton from 30,001 to 70,000 tons, 453 SDR (up from 300 SDR) 

• For each ton in excess of 70,000 tons, 302 SDR (up from 200 SDR).

2.What is the value of an SDR?

The value of an SDR is determined on the basis of a basket of major currencies. Consequently the value of an SDR moves relative to currency movements. At the time of writing an SDR is valued at about USD 1.40.  

Under the new limits, the limit of liability, in USD, for a ship up to 2,000gt would be, USD 4.228 million for loss of life or personal injury claims and USD 2.114 million for property claims. 

On this basis, the limit of liability for a Handymax Bulk Carrier, of 30,000gt, would be calculated as follows:

Loss of life or personal injury claims

- USD 4.228 million (for the first 2,000gt)

- USD 47.3536 million ( [28,000gt X 1208 SDR per gt] X USD 1.4 ) 

Total: USD 51.5816 million

Property claims

- USD 2.114 million (for the first 2,000gt)

- USD 23.6768 million ( [28,000gt X 604 SDR per gt] X USD 1.4 )

Total: USD 25.7908 million

3. What claims are limitable under the convention?

The 1996 Protocol does not amend the terms of Article 2(1) of the ’76 Convention. Therefore, claims limitable under the ’76 convention remain the same under the 1996 Protocol. The 2012 amendment does not alter this. 

The effect of the Limitation convention for ship owners therefore remains the same, other than the fact that ship owners, when visiting to contracting states will be subject to the new higher limits.

4. Are there any changes to the test for breaking limitation?

The 2012 amendment does not change the test for breaking limitation.

5. When does the 2012 amendment to the LLMC 1996 come into force?

8th June 2015

6. How many states have adopted the LLMC 1996 Protocol?

The protocol is currently in force in 50 states. Notable Maritime states where the Protocol has not been adopted include, China, USA, Brazil, South Africa, Singapore, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Nigeria, Egypt, Argentina, much of South America and West Africa.

7. Does the 2012 amendment to the LLMC 1996 Protocol automatically apply to states that are party to the LLMC 1996 Protocol

Yes, all contracting states were notified of the adoption of the new limits in June 2012. The Governments of contracting states had 18 months to object to the new limits (i.e. until December 2013). No objections were received and the new limits will therefore come into force 18 months thereafter in June 2015. 

8.  Does the 2012 amendment affect any other IMO conventions?

Yes, the LLMC 96, as amended in  2012, will affect the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001, and the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007. The terms of those two Conventions provide that the maximum limits the insurer/guarantor shall pay under the respective “blue cards” shall not exceed “an amount calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended.” Therefore the 2012 LLMC limits will be incorporated automatically into those two Conventions, when the new limits take effect on 8th June 2015.

9.  Do Members require any further documentation from the Club to evidence compliance with the 2012 amendment?

No. As the “affected” Conventions (ie. Bunker Convention and the Wreck Removal Convention) automatically incorporate the amended LLMC limits, there is no need to amend the blue cards issued under those Conventions.

10. How many states are still party to the 1976 limits?

17 States are party to the 1976 convention, but not the 1996 protocol. These include; Algeria, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Singapore, UAE and Yemen. 

Notable Maritime states not party to either convention are, China, USA, Brazil, Italy, Saudi Arabia, much of South America and West Africa (excepting Nigeria). 

for more information please contact Luke Lane: +44 0207 204 2086 luke.lane@thomasmiller.com or Chao Wu: +44 0207 204 2157 chao.wu@thomasmiller.com

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