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Limitation of Liability

The Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims provides for the right of shipowners (charterers, managers, operators, etc.) and salvors to limit their liability for a variety of maritime claims related to the operation of a ship (e.g. in respect of loss of life or personal injury and loss or damage to property, including damage occurred during salvage operations) to an amount calculated on the basis of the tonnage of the ship in question according to the method of calculation in the Convention. The main difference between the LLMC 1976 and LLMC 1996 are the liability limits – the latter Convention substantially increased them (and they were again increased by the IMO Legal Committee in 2012 on the basis of the "tacit amendment procure" – those limits are supposed to enter into force in 2015).

The limitation of liability is considered virtually unbreakable since its Article 4 provides only that "a person liable shall not be entitled to limit his liability 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".

EU Directive 2009/20 which was adopted in 2009 as a part of the Third Maritime safety Package constitutes a complementary measure to the LLMC. It provides that all ships flying EU flags and all ship entering to EU ports have to possess insurance for the amount of up to the LLMC 1996.

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