Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims
Athens Protocol 2002
At the 74th Session of the IMO Legal Committee in October 1996 the Delegation of the United Kingdom proposed the establishment of a uniform regime to ensure that ship owners would be able to meet the liabilities arising from the operation of their ships. At that stage the project entailed the need for ship owners to carry evidence of liability insurance (or other form of security) to ensure that claims arising out of all manner of shipping incidents would be paid. In order to aid claimants it was further proposed that the claimant should have a right of action not only against the shipowner but also direct against his insurer or other provider of security. The all embracing nature of this concept finally led to its downfall, but from the wreckage emerged a proposal that the Committee should concentrate on protecting the rights of passengers carried by sea. It was quickly established that the preferred method of dealing with this would be by way of a Protocol to the 1974 Athens Convention on the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea. The opportunity was also taken to address other aspects of the Athens Convention which were seen as requiring updating.