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The Athens Convention
News & Insights 29 June 2018
What is it?
The 1974 Athens Convention, and its successor the 2002 Protocol, provide a liability and insurance regime for passenger ships with regard to passengers and their luggage. Together, they aim to improve compensation for...
What is it?
The 1974 Athens Convention, and its successor the 2002 Protocol, provide a liability and insurance regime for passenger ships with regard to passengers and their luggage. Together, they aim to improve compensation for passengers who suffer damages and improve the safety of maritime transport. The Convention and Protocol also set financial limits of liability for carriers in respect of claims brought by passengers and a two-year time bar for claims to be made, which is typically calculated from the time the passenger disembarked from the vessel.
The Athens Convention 1974
A carrier is liable for damage suffered as a result of the death of, or personal injury to, a passenger, or loss or damage to luggage, if:
- the incident occurred during the course of carriage; and
- the incident was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier (fault is presumed in incidents of shipwreck, collision, stranding, explosion, fire or defect in the ship, unless the contrary is proven).
The carrier could limit its liability, unless it acted with intent to cause damage or recklessly and with knowledge that such damage could result, to 46,666 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per carriage.
The Athens Protocol 2002
Death or personal injury
The 2002 Protocol substantially raised the limit of liability for the death of, or personal injury to, a passenger to 250,000 SDR per passenger on each distinct occasion.
If the death or personal injury is caused by a ‘shipping incident’, the carrier is strictly liable unless the carrier proves that the incident:
- resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection or a natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character; or
- was wholly caused by an act or omission done with the intent to cause the incident by a third party.
Damage to luggage and vehicles
Limits of liability
Direct cause of action against insurers
When will the Athens Convention apply?
✖ Ship entertainers
|On the Quay, Terminal or Port||If the damage to cabin luggage is sustained whilst the Passenger is in a marine terminal or station or on a quay or any other port installation and control of that luggage has been take over by the carrier or his servant or agent and has not been redelivered to the passenger|
|On the Gangway|| |
If damage to cabin luggage is sustained whilst cabin luggage is on the gangway.
If injury/death is sustained whilst the passenger is on the gangway
Athens will not apply
|On the Quay, Terminal or Port||If injury/death is sustained whilst the passenger is in a marine terminal or station or on a quay or any other port installation.|
|On the Gangway||When the passenger is still on the quay/not yet in the process of embarking, in respect of injuries.|
The information and commentary herein are not intended to amount to legal or technical advice to any person in general or about a specific case. Every effort is made to make them accurate and up to date. However, no responsibility is assumed for their accuracy nor for the views or opinions expressed, nor for any consequence of or reliance on them. You are advised to seek specific legal or technical advice from your usual advisers about any specific matter.