FACTS and FIGURES

This page provides information on the following matters:

1.status of conventions relating to marine environmental affairs;

2.liability limits in Special Drawing Rights and US Dollars  under various international regimes and US domestic laws;

3.reservations made by States ratifying the 1976 London Limitation Convention (LLMC) and/or the 1996 LLMC Protocol with respect to limitation of liability for wreck removal and related claims; and

4.notifications by States ratifying the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention 2007 to extend the Convention area inwards to include the territory and territorial sea.

1. STATUS OF CONVENTIONS

For a table listing contracting states to a selection of maritime conventions relating to marine environmental affairs see: Status of Conventions (table) as at 1 August 2017.

For further information relating to the status of IMO Conventions, including recent ratifications,  see: IMO Status of Conventions.

For full details of ratifications, accessions and denunciations, including reservations and notifications deposited by states with the IMO see: IMO Status of Conventions (full details) as at 31 July 2017.

2. LIABILITY LIMITS

Details are given below of liability limits under various international regimes.  Links are provided to tables which give illustrative examples of the calculations involved and which convert the limits into US dollars at the current rate of exchange from the Special Drawing Right.

Details are also given of limits under US federal legislation.

OIL POLLUTION FROM TANKERS – INTERNATIONAL REGIME

Civil Liability Convention 1992, Fund Convention 1992 and Supplementary Fund Protocol 2003.

INTERNATIONAL MARITIME LIMITATION REGIMES

1976 Limitation Convention (LLMC), 1996 LLMC Protocol, and Amended limits in force June 2015

US LEGISLATION

Oil Pollution Act 1990
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act 1980 (“Superfund”) CERCLA


OIL POLLUTION FROM TANKERS – INTERNATIONAL REGIME

Civil Liability Convention 1992

The liability limit of shipowners and insurers under CLC 92 depends on the gross tonnage of the ship.

Minimum liability limit for small tankers of up to 5,000 gt: SDR 4,510,000

Maximum liability limit for large tankers of 140,119 gt or more: SDR 89.77 million

Between these limits: SDR 4.51m + SDR 631 per ton above 5,000 gt

Note: if the ship is entered in an International Group Club, the owner and insurer are required by STOPIA to indemnify the 1992 IOPC Fund for any compensation it pays as a result of the ship’s liability limit being less than SDR 20m.  This affects ships of up to 29,548 gt.

For current equivalent figures in US dollars and illustrative examples see: Oil pollution from tankers – liability limits 1 February 2017.

Fund Convention 1992

The liability of the 1992 IOPC Fund is subject to a limit of SDR 203m, including any amounts actually recovered from the shipowner or his insurer.

For the current equivalent limit in US dollars see: Oil pollution from tankers – liability limits 1 February 2017.

Supplementary Fund Protocol 2003

The liability of the Supplementary Fund is subject to a limit of SDR 750m, including any amounts actually recovered from the shipowner, his insurer and the 1992 Fund.

For the current equivalent limit in US dollars see: Oil pollution from tankers – liability limits 1 February 2017.

INTERNATIONAL MARITIME LIMITATION REGIMES

1976 London Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC)

Liability for pollution (and other claims apart from personal claims) is subject to an aggregate limit calculated as follows:

Up to 500 gt      SDR 167,000
 
Up to 30,000 gt SDR 167,000 + SDR 167 for each ton over 500 gt
 
max SDR 5,093,500
 
Up to 70,000 gt SDR  5,093,500 + SDR 125 for each ton over 30,000 gt
 
max SDR 10,093,500
 
Over 70,000 gt SDR 10,093,500 + SDR 83 for each ton over 70,000 gt no maximum


For current equivalent figures in US dollars and illustrative examples see: Limitation regimes – liability limits 1 February 2017.

1996 LLMC Protocol

Up to 2,000 gt      SDR 1,000,000
 
Up to 30,000 gt SDR 1,000,000 + SDR 400 for each ton over 2,000 gt
 
max SDR 12,200,000
 
Up to 70,000 gt SDR 12,200,000 + SDR 300 for each ton over 30,000 gt
 
max SDR 24,200,000
 
Over 70,000 gt SDR 24,400,000 + SDR 200 for each ton over 70,000 gt no maximum


For current equivalent figures in US dollars and illustrative examples see: Limitation regimes – liability limits 1 February 2017.

1996 LLMC Protocol as amended in 2012
Limits in force internationally from 8 June 2015*

*Note that in some Protocol States the amended limits may not have entered into force until a later date.  In the UK they did not take effect until 30 November 2016. See: New liability limits in the UK.

Up to 2,000 gt      SDR 1,510,000
 
Up to 30,000 gt SDR 1,510,000 + SDR 604 for each ton over 2,000 gt
 
max SDR 18,422,000
 
Up to 70,000 gt SDR 18,422,000 + SDR 453 for each ton over 30,000 gt
 
max SDR 36,542,000
 
Over 70,000 gt SDR 36,542,000 + SDR 302 for each ton over 70,000 gt no maximum


For current equivalent figures in US dollars and illustrative examples see: Limitation regimes – liability limits 1 February 2017.

US LEGISLATION

For liability limits under the US Oil Pollution Act 1990 and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act 1980 (“Superfund”) CERCLA, see: OPA-90 and CERCLA liability limits.

3. RESERVATIONS AFFECTING LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR WRECK REMOVAL AND RELATED CLAIMS

The 1976 Limitation Convention (LLMC) and 1996 LLMC Protocol enumerate in Art. 2.1 the maritime claims for which liability may be limited.  Art. 18 of these instruments allows states the option of ratifying them under reservation of the right to exclude Art. 2.1(d) and/or (e) from national legislation.  These allow limitation of liability for:

(d) Claims in respect of the raising, removal, destruction or the rendering harmless of a ship which is sunk, wrecked, stranded or abandoned, including anything that is or has been on board such ship;

(e) Claims in respect of the removal, destruction or the rendering harmless of the cargo of the ship.

Some states but not others have exercised the option of ratifying the Convention and/or Protocol whilst reserving the right to exclude the right to exclude these provisions from their national laws, thereby maintaining unlimited liability for wreck removal in their jurisdictions.

Some of these states have apparently taken the view that this exclusion also has the effect of excluding any right to limit liability for bunker pollution, or for certain types of claim for bunker pollution, notably costs of removing or rendering harmless the bunkers of a ship.

For details of States which have exercised this option see: LLMC Contracting States with reservations concerning wreck removal and related claims.

For discussion of the issues relating to bunker pollution see the following extract from a seminar paper I gave in 2014: Bunker Pollution and Limitation of Liability. 

4. NOTIFICATIONS BY STATES RATIFYING THE NAIROBI WRECK REMOVAL CONVENTION 2007 TO EXTEND THE CONVENTION AREA INWARDS TO INLCUDE THE TERRITORY AND TERRITORIAL SEA

For details of States which have exercised the option under Article 3(2) of the Wreck Removal Convention (WRC) to extend the Convention area inwards see: WRC States – extensions to TTS as at 31 July 2017.

For a note on the effect of the WRC where this option is exercised see: Wreck Removal Convention – Effect in the territorial sea.