The Hong Kong Government is to table proposed legislative amendments to Schedule 2 to the Merchant Shipping (Limitation of Shipowners Liability) Ordinance on October 11.
“The amendments will increase shipowners’ financial liability limits for maritime incidents in order to align with the IMO’s requirements,” a spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said.
Amendments to increase the limits of liability in the 1996 Protocol to amend the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 entered into force on 8 June 2015, raising the amount claimable for loss of life or personal injury on ships (not exceeding 2,000 GT to 3.02m SDR, (HK$32m) up from 2m SDR (additional amounts are claimable on larger ships.
The 1976 LLMC Convention sets specified limits of liability for certain types of claims against shipowners:
Claims for loss of life or personal injury; and
Other claims such as property claims (including damage to other ships, property or harbour works), delay, bunker spills, wreck removal, pollution damage etc.
The Convention also allows for shipowners and salvors to limit their liability except if ‘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’.