Recent Amendments to the Korean maritime law


Main Points of Amendment

1. Global Limitation

The level of shipowners' global limitation has been maintained at the 1976 LLMC levels, except in respect of passenger claims, for which the 1996 Protocol level and calculation has been adopted (including the removal of the ceiling on the limitation amount for such claims).

2. Package Limitation

The amount of package limitation has been increased and a weight limitation has been newly introduced (although the latter will become effective 3 years from promulgation), so that they are now both the same as the limitation amounts in the Hague Visby Rules.

3. Time Bar

The time bar of 1 year for claims against the carrier by the shipper or consignee is maintained, but the time bar for indemnity claims has been newly included, like the Hague Visby Rules. The indemnity claim would not be time barred before 3 months from the time of settlement or from the filing of the complaint. In case of the filing of a complaint, if the carrier gives notice thereof to the party from whom indemnity will be sought, the 3 months shall run from the time the judgment becomes final or otherwise conclusive.

4. New Additions

The following provisions have been newly introduced:

i) Provision for multimodal transport.

ii) Introduction of a time bar for claims arising under the charterparty between the shipowner and the charterers or consignees (2 years from the date of delivery of the goods).

iii) Electronic Bills of Lading can be issued.

iv) Seaway Bills can be issued.

v) Remuneration for salvage to prevent environmental damage.

Extracts of Amended Provisions

The following are the excerpts of the amended provisions discussed above.

1. Global Limitation

Article 770 (Limits of Liability)

The limits of liability that can be asserted by the shipowner on any distinct occasion shall be calculated as follows:

(1) In respect of claims for loss of life of or personal injury to passengers of a ship, the limit of liability of the shipowner thereof shall be an amount of 175,000 units of account multiplied by the number of passengers which the ship is authorized to carry according to the ship's certificate.

2. Package Limitation

Article 797 (Limitation of Liability)

(1) The carrier shall not in any case be or become liable for any loss or damage to or in connection with the goods according to Articles 794 to 796 in an amount exceeding 666.67 units of account per package or unit or 2 units of account per kilogram of gross weight of the goods lost or damages whichever is the higher. Provided, that the carrier shall not limit his liability if the damage to the goods resulted from an act or omission of the carrier done with the intent to cause damage or recklessly and with knowledge that the damage would possibly result.

3. Time Bar

Article 814 (Time Bar for Claims against the Carrier)

(2) In the event that the carriage is subcontracted to a third party and the shipper or consignee, pursuant to paragraph (1) above, settle their claim against the carrier or file a complaint, a claim for indemnity against the third party is not extinguished before 3 months commencing from the day when the person bringing such action for indemnity has settled the claim or a Complaint has been filed. The above is the same even where there is an indemnity agreement between the carrier and the third party.

(3) If the carrier, who has been served with a complaint, issues a notice pending lawsuit to the third party, the time bar of 3 months for indemnity claims shall be counted from the date the judgment becomes final or otherwise conclusive.

4. Article 816 (Liability for Multimodal Transportation)

(1) In the event that the carriage taken on by the carrier includes carriage other than sea carriage, the liability of the carrier shall be determined in accordance with the law applicable to that part of carriage where the damage occurred.

(2) In the event that it is not clear at which part of the carriage the damage occurred or because of the nature of the occurrence of the damage it is not possible to restrict it to a particular area, the liability of the carrier shall be determined in accordance the law applicable to the part of the carriage that is of the longest distance. However, if the distances are the same or it is not possible to determine which part of the carriage is of the longest distance, then the law applicable to the part of the carriage for which the charges for carriage is the most expensive shall apply.

5. Article 840 (Time Bar for Claims against the Shipowner)

(1) The claims of the charterer or the consignee against the shipowner, irrespective of the cause of the damage, shall be time barred if a claim is not made from the time of delivery of the goods by the shipowner or if a Complaint has not been filed to the court within 2 years from the time of the delivery of the goods by the shipowner. In this situation, the proviso in Article 814(1) [translator's note: provision that the time bar may be extended with agreement for claims against the carrier] shall be applicable mutatis mutandis.

(2) Any agreement between the shipowner and the charterer to shorten the time bar provided for in paragraph (1) above shall not be valid unless expressly agreed in the contract of carriage.

6. Article 862 (Electronic Bills of Lading)

(1) The carrier, upon obtaining consent from the shipper or the charterer, may issue, in lieu of the bill of lading described in Article 852 through 855, an electronic bill of lading by way of registration at a registry designated by the Minister of Justice. Such electronic bill of lading shall have the same legal effect as the bill of lading described in Articles 852 through 855.

7. Article 863 (Seaway Bill of Lading)

(1) The carrier, upon request by the charterer or the shipper, may issue a seaway bill, in lieu of the bill of lading as described in Article 852 through 855. The seaway bill may, with agreement between the parties, be issued electronically.

8. Article 885 (Special Compensation for Prevention of Environmental Damage)

(1) If a vessel or the goods carried on board threatened damage to the environment and the salvor carried out salvage operations which prevented or minimized damage to the environment, the salvor who carried out such salvage operation may claim special compensation equivalent to his expenses for such salvage operation, irrespective of the extent of success or the provisions in Article 884 [translator's note: provision for the limit on the salvor's reward whereby salvage remuneration is limited to the value of the object of the salvage].

Staff Author