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Maritime claims liability increases come into force

Maritime claims liability increases come into force
Increases in the limits of liability for maritime claims came into force today, increasing the size of possible claims from personal injury and loss of life on ships.

The changes to the 1996 Protocol to amend the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 (LLMC Protocol 1996) raise the amount amount claimable for vessels under 2,000 gt to SDR3.02m ($2.15m) from SDR2m.

The protocol also covers shipowners' liability for claims on property including other ships, and harbour works, delay, bunker spills and pollution damage. It does not limit liability for owners or salvorts where "it is proved that the loss resulted from his personal act or omission, committed with the intent to cause such loss, or recklessly and with knowledge that such loss would probably result".

The new limits scale with ship size for property claims, and personal injury and loss of life in the following way from the SDR3m for ships up to 2,000 gt.

For loss of life and personal injury, an extra SDR1,208 for each ton from 2,001 to 30,000 tons (up from 800 SDR), an extra SDR906 for each ton from 30,001 to 70,000 tons (up from SDR600), and an extra SDR604 for each ton over 70,000 tons.

Property claims now start from SDR1.51m for up to 2,000 gt, with an added SDR604 for each ton to 30,000 tons, an extra SDR453 for each ton then to 70,000 tons and SDR302 for each tone thereafter.