Know your limits!

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the original author or contributor. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the UK P&I Club.

In 2005, Hong Kong finally adopted the 1996 Protocol's limitation levels, which came into play locally on 3 May 2015. Since then, the negotiations have continued between participating member states on amendments to the limitation levels.

This year, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong announced amendments  to the Merchant Shipping Ordinance. This increased the 1996 protocol limits for maritime claims taking place after 4 December 2017 in Hong Kong. The handy table below sets out the limits under the revised 1996 protocol for claims for damage to property, personal injury or loss of life.

Gross Tonnage (MT)

Property Damage

Personal Injury/Loss of Life


SDR 1,510,000

SDR 3,020,000


SDR 1,510,000

SDR 3,020,000

2,001- 30,000

+SDR 604 per ton

+ SDR 1,208 per ton


+ SDR 453 per ton

+ SDR 906 per ton

> 70,000

+ SDR 302 per ton

+ SDR 604 per ton

Passenger claims are subject to SDR 175,000 multiplied by the number of passengers which the ship is certificated to carry for each passenger without limit a cap.

Even though Hong Kong has ratified the 1996 protocol , Mainland China follows a separate liability limitation regime under the domestic Maritime Code , which is similar to the limitation levels as under LLMC 1976. 

The team in Hong Kong have also encountered cases recently where plaintiffs were ordered to explain to the Chinese court, why their claims were calculated on the 1996 protocol - the court decisions did not deviate from the Maritime Code.

Members should bear in mind the different limitation levels in different jurisdictions when pursuing or responding to casualty claims.

Relevant reads can be found on the UK P&I Club website via below links:

Sylvia Shi

Claims Executive