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II.2.330 (LLMC 1976) CONVENTION ON LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR MARITIME CLAIMS, 1976

The Ratification of Maritime Conventions

Chapter I.2.330

CONVENTION ON LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR MARITIME CLAIMS, 1976

ADOPTED: Done at London, 19 November 1976
REFERENCE: LLMC 1976
ENTERED INTO FORCE: 1 December 1986
DEPOSITARY: IMO, London
SECRETARY: IMO, London

IMPLEMENTATION

SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION, ACCEPTANCE, APPROVAL, ACCESSION

Article XVI

1. This Convention shall be open for signature by all States at the Headquarters of the [International Maritime Organization] (hereinafter referred to as “the Organization”) from 1 February 1977 until 31 December 1977 and shall thereafter remain open for accession.

2. All States may become parties to this Convention by:

  • (a) signature without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval; or
  • (b) signature subject to ratification, acceptance or approval followed by ratification, acceptance or approval; or
  • (c) accession.

3. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by the deposit of a formal instrument to that effect with the Secretary-General of the Organisation.

ENTRY INTO FORCE

Article XVII

1. This Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following one year after the date on which twelve States have either signed it without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval or have deposited the requisite instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

2. For a State which deposits an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, or signs without reservation as to ratification acceptance or approval, in respect of this Convention after the requirements for entry into force have been met but prior to the date of entry into force, the ratification, acceptance, approval or accession or the signature without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval, shall take effect on the date of entry into force of the Convention or on the first day of the month following the ninetieth day after the date of the signature or the deposit of the instrument, whichever is the later date.

3. For any State which subsequently becomes a Party to this Convention, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of ninety days after the date when such State deposited its instrument.

4. In respect of the relations between States which ratify, accept or approve this Convention or accede to it, this Convention shall replace and abrogate the International Convention relating to the Limitation of the Liability of Owners of Sea-Going Ships, done at Brussels on Oct. 10 1957, and the International Convention for the Unification of certain Rules relating to the Limitation of Liability of the Owners of Sea-Going Vessels, signed at Brussels on Aug. 25, 1924

DENUNCIATION

Article XIX

1. This Convention may be denounced by a State Party at any time after one year from the date on which the Convention entered into force for that Party.

2. Denunciation shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument with the Secretary-General.

3. Denunciation shall take effect on the first day of the month following the expiration of one year after the date of deposit of the instrument, or after such longer period as may be specified in the instrument.

RESERVATIONS

Article XVIII

1. Any State may, at the time of signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, reserve the right to exclude the application of art. 2, par. 1 (d) and (e). No other reservations shall be admissible to the substantive provisions of this Convention.

2. Reservations made at the time of signature are subject to confirmation upon ratification, acceptance or approval.

3. Any State which has made a reservation to this Convention may withdraw it at any time by means of a notification addressed to the Secretary-General. Such withdrawal shall take effect from the date the notification is received. If the notification states that the withdrawal of a reservation is to take effect on a date specified therein, the withdrawal shall take effect on such later date.

REVISION AND AMENDMENT

Article XX

1. A Conference for the purpose of revising or amending this Convention may be convened by the Organisation.

2. The Organisation shall convene a Conference of the States Parties to this Convention for revising or amending it at the request of not less than one-third of the Parties.

3. After the date of the entry into force of an amendment to this Convention, any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession deposited shall be deemed to apply to the Convention as amended, unless a contrary intention is expressed in the instrument.

REVISION OF THE LIMITATION AMOUNTS AND OF UNIT OF ACCOUNT OR MONETARY UNIT

Article XXI

1. Notwithstanding the provisions of art. XX, a Conference only for the purposes of altering the amounts specified in arts. VI and VII and in art. VIII, par. 2, or of substituting either or both of the units defined in art. VIII, pars. 1 and 2, by other units shall be convened by the Organisation in accordance with pars. 2 and 3 of this Article. An alteration of the amounts shall be made only because of a significant change in their real value.

2. The Organisation shall convene such a Conference at the request of not less than one fourth of the States Parties.

3. A decision to alter the amounts or to substitute the units by other Units of Account shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the States Parties present and voting in such Conference.

4. Any State depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Convention, after entry into force of an amendment, shall apply the Convention as amended.

DECLARATIONS, RESERVATIONS AND NOTIFICATIONS

Belgium

The instrument of accession of the Kingdom of Belgium was accompanied by the following reservation (in the French language):

[translation] “In accordance with the provisions of article XVIII, paragraph 1, Belgium expresses a reservation on article II, paragraphs 1(d) and (e).”

Notification: Article XV(II)

[translation] “In accordance with the provisions of article XV, paragraph 2, Belgium will apply the provisions of the Convention to inland navigation.”

France

The instrument of approval of the French Republic contained the following reservation (in the French language):

[translation] “In accordance with article XVIII, paragraph 1, the Government of the French Republic reserves the right to exclude the application of article II, paragraphs 1(d) and (e).”

Notification: Article XV(II)

[translation] “ . . . that no limit of liability is provided for vessels navigating on French internal waterways;

. . . that, as far as ships with a tonnage of less than 300 tons are concerned, the general limits of liability are equal to half those established in article VI of the Convention . . . for ships with a tonnage not exceeding 500 tons.”

German Democratic Republic

The instrument of accession of the German Democratic Republic was accompanied by the following reservation and declaration (in the German language):

Article II, paragraphs 1(d) and (e)

  • “The German Democratic Republic notes that for the purpose of this Convention there is no limitation of liability within its territorial sea and internal waters in respect of the removal of a wrecked ship, the raising, removal or destruction of a ship which is sunk, stranded or abandoned (including anything that is or has been on board such ship). Claims, including liability, derive from the laws and regulations of the German Democratic Republic”.
  • In accordance with art. XVII, par. 1 of the Convention, the Federal Republic of Germany reserves the right to exclude the application of art. II, pars. 1 (d) and (e) of the Convention.”

Germany

Notification: Article XV(II)

[translation] “In accordance with art. XV, par. 2, first sentence, sub-par. (a) of the Convention, the system of limitation of liability to be applied to vessels which are, according to the law of the Federal Republic of Germany, ships intended for navigation on inland waterways, is regulated by the provisions relating to the private law aspects of inland navigation.

In accordance with art. XV, par. 2, first sentence, sub-par. (b) of the Convention, the system of limitation of liability to be applied to ships up to a tonnage of 250 tons is regulated by specific provisions of the law of the Federal Republic of Germany to the effect that, with respect to such a ship, the limit of liability to be calculated in accordance with art. 6, par. 1 (b) of the Convention is half of the limitation amount to be applied with respect to a ship with a tonnage of 500 tons.”

Japan

The instrument of accession of Japan was accompanied by the following statement (in the English language):

“ . . . the Government of Japan, in accordance with the provision of paragraph 1 of article XVIII of the Convention, reserves the right to exclude the application of paragraph 1(d) and (e) of article II of the Convention.”

Netherlands

The instrument of accession of the Kingdom of the Netherlands contained the following reservation:

“In accordance with article 18, paragraph 1, of the Convention on limitation of liability for maritime claims, 1976, done at London on 19 November 1976, the Kingdom of the Netherlands reserves the right to exclude the application of article 2, paragraphs 1(d) and (e) of the Convention.”

Further,

“Paragraph 2(a)

The Act of 14 June 1989 (Staatsblad 239) relating to the limitation of liability of owners of inland navigation vessels provides that the limits of liability shall be calculated in accordance with an Order in Council.

The Order in Council of 19 February 1990 (Staatsblad 96) adopts the following limits of liability in respect of ships intended for navigation on inland waterways.

  • I. Limits of liability for claims in respect of loss of life or personal injury, other than those in respect of passengers of a ship, arising on any distinct occasion:
  • 1. for a ship not intended for the carriage of cargo, in particular a passenger ship, 200 Units of Account per cubic metre of displacement at maximum permitted draught, plus, for ships equipped with mechanical means of propulsion, 700 Units of Account for each kW of the motorpower of the means of propulsion;
  • 2. for a ship intended for the carriage of cargo, 200 Units of Account per ton of the ship’s maximum deadweight, plus, for ships equipped with mechanical means of propulsion, 700 Units of Account for each kW of the motorpower of the means of propulsion;
  • 3. for a tug or a pusher, 700 Units of Account for each kW of the motorpower of the means of propulsion;
  • 4. for a pusher which at the time the damage was caused was coupled to barges in a pushed convoy, the amount calculated in accordance with (3) shall be increased by 100 Units of Account per ton of the maximum deadweight of the pushed barges; such increase shall not apply if it is proved that the pusher has rendered salvage services to one or more of such barges;
  • 5. for a ship equipped with mechanical means of propulsion which at the time the damage was caused was moving other ships coupled to this ship, the amount calculated in accordance with (1), (2) or (3) shall be increased by 100 Units of Account per ton of the maximum deadweight or per cubic metre of displacement of the other ships; such increase shall not apply if it is proved that this ship has rendered salvage services to one or more of the coupled ships;
  • 6. for hydrofoils, dredgers, floating cranes, elevators and all other floating appliances, pontoons or plant of a similar nature, treated as inland navigation ships in accordance with article 951a, paragraph 4 of the Commercial Code, their value at the time of the incident;
  • 7. where in cases mentioned under (4) and (5) the limitation fund of the pusher or the mechanically propelled ship is increased by 100 Units of Account per ton of the maximum deadweight of the pushed barges or by 100 Units of Account per ton of the maximum deadweight or per cubic metre of displacement of the other coupled ships, the limitation fund of each barge or of each of the other coupled ships shall be reduced by 100 Units of Account per ton of the maximum deadweight of the barge or by 100 Units of Account per ton of the maximum deadweight or per cubic metre of displacement of the other vessel with respect to claims arising out of the same incident;
  • however, in no case shall the limitation amount be less than 200,000 Units of Account.
  • II. The limits of liability for claims in respect of any damage caused by water pollution, other than claims for loss of life or personal injury, are equal to the limits mentioned under I.
  • III. The limits of liability for all other claims are equal to half the amount of the limits mentioned under I.
  • IV. In respect of claims arising on any distinct occasion for loss of life or personal injury to passengers of an inland navigation ship, the limit of liability of the owner thereof shall be an amount equal to 60,000 Units of Account multiplied by the number of passengers the ship is authorized to carry according to its legally established capacity or, in the event that the maximum number of passengers the ship is authorized to carry has not been established by law, an amount equal to 60,000 Units of Account multiplied by the number of passengers actually carried on board at the time of the incident. However, the limitation of liability shall in no case be less than 720,000 Units of Account and shall not exceed the following amounts:
  • (i) 3 million Units of Account for a vessel with an authorized maximum capacity of 100 passengers;
  • (ii) 6 million Units of Account for a vessel with an authorized maximum capacity of 180 passengers;
  • (iii) 12 million Units of Account for a vessel with an authorized maximum capacity of more than 180 passengers.
  • ‘Claims for loss of life or personal injury to passengers’ have been defined in the same way as in article 7, paragraph 2, of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976.

The Unit of Account mentioned under I-IV is the Special Drawing Right as defined in article 8 of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976.

Paragraph 2(b)

The Act of 14 June 1989 (Staatsblad 241) relating to the limitation of liability for maritime claims provides that with respect to ships which are according to their construction intended exclusively or mainly for the carriage of persons and have a tonnage of less than 300, the limit of liability for claims other than for loss of life or personal injury may be established by Order in Council at a lower level than under the Convention.

The Order in Council of 19 February 1990 (Staatsblad 97) provides that the limit shall be 100,000 Units of Account.

The Unit of Account is the Special Drawing Right as defined in article 8 of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976.”

Norway

Notification: Article XV(IV)

“Because a higher liability is established for Norwegian drilling vessels according to the Act of 27 May 1983 (No. 30) on changes in the Maritime Act of 20 July 1893, paragraph 324, such drilling vessels are exempted from the regulations of this Convention as specified in article XV No. 4.”

Poland

Notification : Article VIII(IV)

“Poland will now calculate financial liabilities mentioned in the Convention in the terms of the Special Drawing Right, according to the following method.

The Polish National Bank will fix a rate of exchange of the SDR to the United States dollar according to the current rates of exchange quoted by Reuter. Next, the US dollar will be converted into Polish zloties at the rate of exchange quoted by the Polish National Bank from their current table of rates of foreign currencies.”

Sweden

Notification: Article XV(IV)

“ . . . in accordance with paragraph 4 of article XV of the Convention, Sweden has established under its national legislation a higher limit of liability for ships constructed for or adapted to and engaged in drilling than that otherwise provided for in article VI of the Convention.”

Switzerland

Notification : Article VIII(IV)

[translation] “The Federal Council declares, with reference to article VIII, paragraphs 1 and 4 of the Convention that Switzerland calculates the value of its national currency in special drawing rights (SDR) in the following way:

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) notifies the International Monetary Fund (IMF) daily of the mean rate of the dollar of the United States of America on the Zurich currency market. The exchange value of one SDR in Swiss francs is determined from that dollar rate and the rate of the SDR in dollars calculated by IMF. On the basis of these values, SNB calculates a mean SDR rate which it will publish in its Monthly Gazette.

In accordance with article 15, paragraph 2, of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, we have the honour to inform you that Switzerland has availed itself of the option provided in paragraph 2(a) of the above-mentioned article.

Since the entry into force of article 44a of the Maritime Navigation Order of 20 November 1956, the limitation of the liability of the owner of an inland waterways ship has been determined in Switzerland in accordance with the provisions of that article, a copy of which is [reproduced below]:

  • II. Limitation of liability of the owner of an inland waterways vessel
  • Article 44a
  • 1. In compliance with article 5, subparagraph 3c, of the law on maritime navigation, the liability of the owner of an inland waterways vessel, provided in article 126, subparagraph 2c, of the law, shall be limited as follows:
  • a. in respect of claims for loss of life or personal injury, to an amount of 200 Units of Account per deadweight ton of a vessel used for the carriage of goods and per cubic metre of water displaced for any other vessel, increased by 700 Units of Account per kW of power in the case of mechanical means of propulsion, and to an amount of 700 Units of Account per kW of power for uncoupled tugs and pusher craft; for all such vessels, however, the limit of liability is fixed at a minimum of 200,000 Units of Account;
  • b. in respect of claims for passengers, to the amounts provided by the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, to which article 49, subparagraph 1, of the federal law on maritime navigation refers;
  • c. in respect of any other claims, half of the amounts provided under subparagraph a.
  • 2. The Unit of Account shall be the Special Drawing Right defined by the International Monetary Fund.
  • 3. Where, at the time when damage was caused, a pusher craft was securely coupled to a pushed barge train, or where a vessel with mechanical means of propulsion was providing propulsion for other vessels coupled to it, the maximum amount of liability, for the entire coupled train, shall be determined on the basis of the amount of the liability of the pusher craft or of the vessel with mechanical means of propulsion and also on the basis of the amount calculated for the deadweight tonnage or the water displacement of the vessels to which such pusher craft or vessel is coupled, in so far as it is not proved that such pusher craft or such vessel has rendered salvage services to the coupled vessels.”

United Kingdom

The instrument of ratification of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland contained a reservation which states that the United Kingdom was “reserving the right, in accordance with article XVIII, paragraph 1, of the Convention, on its own behalf and on behalf of the above-mentioned territories, to exclude the application of article II, paragraph 1(d); and to exclude the application of article II, paragraph 1(e) with regard to Gibraltar only.”

Notification: Article VIII(IV)

“ . . . the manner of calculation employed by the United Kingdom pursuant to article VIII(1) of the Convention shall be the method of valuation applied by the International Monetary Fund.”

Notification: Article XV(II)

“ . . . with regard to article XV, paragraph 2(b), the limits of liability which the United Kingdom intend to apply to ships of under 300 tons are 166,677 Units of Account in respect of claims for loss of life or personal injury, and 83,333 Units of Account in respect of any other claims.”

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