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Web Alert: Hong Kong Government proposes to implement latest IMO limits under the 1996 Protocol

17 October 2017

The original limits of the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 (the 1996 Protocol) were incorporated into local legislation in Hong Kong on 3 May 2015.

In April 2012, parties to the 1996 Protocol negotiated a further increase of approximately 51% in tonnage limits which came into effect from 8 June 2015. In Hong Kong’s case, the amendments did not automatically form part of the local law, and subsidiary legislation was required to increase the limits.

On 6 October 2017, legislative amendments to Schedule 2 of the Merchant Shipping (Limitation of Shipowners Liability) Ordinance (Cap. 434) were gazetted in Hong Kong. On 11 October 2017, the amendments were tabled at the Legislative Council for negative vetting in the form of the Merchant Shipping (Limitation of Shipowners Liability) Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 2) Order 2017. The amendments incorporate the latest revision in limits of liability pursuant to the 1996 Protocol into Hong Kong law.

The new limits are proposed to come into operation on 4 December 2017. 

These limits are based on the vessel’s gross tonnage and are expressed in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) as published by the IMF. A summary of the limits under the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) 1976 and the 1996 Protocol can be found at the IMO website.

For further details, please see the attached update from Stephenson Harwood's Hong Kong office.