In fifteen separate regions, this guide provides a snapshot view for the selected countries, where the Club considers:

  • the right to limit liability
  • specifically the right to limit liability in respect of wreck removal
  • the application and geographical reach of the CLC Convention, Wreck Removal Convention, Maritime Labour Convention or any related domestic legislation
  • the enforceability of knock-for-knock provisions in a contract and whether there are any gross negligence or wilful misconduct exceptions to this.

The jurisdictions covered are:

  • Angola: The International Convention relating to the Limitation of the Liability of Owners of Seagoing Vessels, 1957, is applicable in Angola without the SDR Protocol. Note that the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 (LLMC 1976) does not apply in Angola
  • Australia: The Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 (LLMC) (as amended by the 1996 Protocol to Amend the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 (’96 Protocol)) was given the force of law in Australia by virtue of the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims Act 1989 (Commonwealth) on 30 May 1991. The ‘96 Protocol was given force of law in Australia on 13 May 2004. The LLMC is subject to reservations.
  • Brazil: Brazil has not ratified the International Convention relating to the Limitation of the Liability of Owners of Sea-Going Ships, 1957; the Convention on the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976; nor the 1996 Protocol to Amend the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976. Brazil is party to the 1924 International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to the Limitation of the Liability of Owners of Seagoing Vessels (the 1924 Brussels Convention).
  • India: India has incorporated the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 (LLMC 1976) in its Merchant Shipping Act 1958 (MSA), with substantial modifications. The restrictions contained in Article 15 (1) are also contained in the Indian MSA.
  • Indonesia: Indonesia is not signatory to any international convention relating to limitation of liability for maritime claims. However, under local law, and pursuant to the Indonesian Commercial Code, a shipowner can limit its liability for cargo claims and claims arising out of a collision with another vessel. Nevertheless, Indonesian courts rarely apply such a provision and prefer to determine the limitation amount based on their sole discretion instead.
  • Malaysia: Two different vessel limitation conventions are applicable in Malaysia:
    i. The International Convention Relating to the Limitation of Liability of Owners of Sea-going Ships, 1957 (the 1957 Convention) applies in East Malaysia (comprising the states of Sabah and Sarawak)
    ii. The Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 amended by the 1996 Protocol (the LLMC 1996) applies in West Malaysia (comprising the states of Peninsula Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan).
  • Mexico: Mexico ratified the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 (LLMC 1976) on 13 May 1994, however, it has not ratified the 1996 Protocol. The Convention is incorporated into national law and implemented via the Law of Navigation and Maritime Commerce (Ley de Navegación y Comercio Marítimos 1/06/2006). Although the LLMC 1976 is in force, a decision by the Supreme Court of Mexico in 2010 deprived a shipowner of their right to limit liability when the shipowner’s offshore supply vessel collided with a floating platform.
  • Nigeria: Nigeria is signatory to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 (LLMC 1976), and has ratified and domesticated it into national law by virtue of the provisions of Section 335(1) (f) of the Merchant Shipping Act 2007, which expressly provides that the provisions of the Convention shall apply in Nigeria.
  • Norway: The Norwegian rules on limitation of liability are based on the rules of the 1976 London Convention on Limitation of Liability on Maritime Claims, as amended by the 1996 Protocol (LLMC 96). Norway adopted the LLMC 96 in 2000 and it is transformed into Norwegian law by being implemented in the Norwegian Maritime Code of 1994 (NMC), chapter 9.
  • Qatar: Qatar is not signatory to the LLMC; however, domestic legislation (the Qatari Maritime Code No. 15 of 1980) may allow a shipowner to limit his liability at Qatari Riyals (QR) 250 per ton for loss of or damage to property, QR500 per ton for personal injury or death and QR750 per ton for both loss of or damage to property and personal injury or death.
  • Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is not signatory to any international limitation conventions, and shipowners cannot limit their liability under local law.
  • Singapore: Singapore is signatory to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 (LLMC 1976) but not to the 1996 Protocol. It has enacted the LLMC 1976 with some modification in the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179) (MSA), which amendment came into effect from 1 May 2005 (Singapore LLMC). The amendment does not apply to occurrences which took place before 1 May 2005.
  • Thailand: Thailand is not signatory to an international convention relating to limitation of liability for maritime claims. Shipowners are not able to limit their liability under local law because there is no specific law dealing with limitation of liability for maritime claims.
  • UK: UK is signatory to the 1996 Protocol to Amend the Convention on the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims. However, it has denounced the 1976 Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims as an international treaty. The 1976 Convention is given effect in the UK by the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 (MSA 1995) Schedule 7, which has been amended by the 1996 Protocol.
  • US: US is not signatory to any international conventions relating to the limitation of liability for maritime claims. However, there is a right to limit under US law, under the Limitation of Liability Act 1851 (the Limitation Act), which allows shipowners to limit their liability based on the value of the vessel (post casualty) plus the outstanding freight, except where the loss occurred with their privity or knowledge.

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