Members will recall that substantial increases in the liability limits set by the 1976 London Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) as amended by the 1996 LLMC Protocol, were agreed by the IMO Legal Committee in 2012.
This was in response to a proposal put forward by Australia following a costly clean-up of bunker oil pollution from the PACIFIC ADVENTURER in 2009. The amendments came into effect internationally in June 2015 through the Protocol’s tacit acceptance procedure. This meant the amendments were deemed accepted at the end of 18 months after the date of notification to all contracting states, and entered into force 18 months thereafter on 8 June 2015. The implementation of the amendments under national laws however depended upon each contracting State’s domestic procedures for giving effect to international treaties. The UK being a ‘dualist’ state, the enactment of a national legislation is required in order to bring the amendments into force in the UK.
The new LLMC limits have been implemented in the UK by way of a modification to the relevant provisions in the Merchant Shipping Act 1995: see the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 Amendment Order 2016 No.1061, and will come into effect in the UK on 30 November 2016. The Amendment Order provides that no modification of the limits of the 1996 Protocol is to affect any rights or liabilities arising out of an occurrence which took place before the day on which the modification has effect. Incidents governed by English law which occurred between 8 June 2015 and 30 November 2016 will therefore remain subject to the old limits. The new limits will apply to incidents occurring on or after 30 November 2016.
A comparison of the 1996 Protocol limits prior to the increases agreed in 2012 and the new limits are set out below.
1996 LLMC Protocol (prior to increases agreed in 2012)
Liability for property claims
|Up to 2,000 gt||SDR 1,000,000|
|Up to 30,000 gt||SDR 1,000,000 + SDR 400 for each ton over 2,000 gt||Maximum SDR 12,200,000|
|Up to 70,000 gt||SDR 12,200,000 + SDR 300 for each ton over 30,000 gt||Maximum SDR 24,200,000|
|Over 70,000 gt||SDR 24,200,000 + SDR 200 for each ton over 70,000 gt||No maximum|
Liability for loss of life or personal injury claims
|Up to 2,000 gt||SDR 2,000,000|
|Up to 30,000 gt||SDR 2,000,000 + SDR 800 for each ton over 2,000 gt||Maximum SDR 24,400,000|
|Up to 70,000 gt||SDR 24,400,000 + SDR 600 for each ton over 30,000 gt||Maximum SDR 48,400,000|
|Over 70,000 gt||SDR 48,400,000 + SDR 200 for each ton over 70,000 gt||No maximum|
1996 LLMC Protocol as amended in 2012 (revised liability limits in force from 8 June 2015).
Liability for property claims
|Up to 2,000 gt||SDR 1,510,000|
|Up to 30,000 gt||SDR 1,510,000 + SDR 604 for each ton over 2,000 gt||Maximum SDR 18,422,000|
|Up to 70,000 gt||SDR 18,422,000 + SDR 453 for each ton over 30,000 gt||Maximum SDR 36,542,000|
|Over 70,000 gt||SDR 36,542,000 + SDR 302 for each ton over 70,000 gt||No maximum|
Liability for loss of life or personal injury claims.
|Up to 2,000 gt||SDR 3,020,000|
|Up to 30,000 gt||SDR 3,020,000 + SDR 1208 for each ton over 2,000 gt||Maximum SDR 36,844,000|
|Up to 70,000 gt||SDR 36,844,000 + SDR 906 for each ton over 30,000 gt||Maximum SDR 73,084,000|
|Over 70,000 gt||SDR 73,084.000 + SDR 604 for each ton over 70,000 gt||No maximum|
A link to the UK P&I Club’s FAQs on this subject is attached; but if Members have any additional questions on this subject, please direct your questions to your usual contact at the Club who will be happy to assist you.