Knowledge Highlights 17 December 2019

The Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 (“LLMC 1976”), to which Singapore is a party, sets uniform rules relating to the limitation of liability for maritime claims. The Protocol of 1996 to amend the LLMC 1976 (“1996 Protocol”) raises the limits of liability of the shipowner for maritime claims covered under the LLMC 1976. It also provides for the limits to be amended by means of tacit acceptance. In 2012, the International Maritime Organisation (“IMO”) adopted certain amendments to the 1996 Protocol which further increased the limits of liability of a shipowner (“2012 amendments”).

With effect from 29 December 2019, the 1996 Protocol will be implemented in Singapore following amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act pursuant to the partial commencement of the Merchant Shipping (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2019. The implementation of the 1996 Protocol does not apply in relation to any liability arising out of an occurrence which took place before 29 December 2019.

According to the Minister for Transport, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore will implement the 2012 amendments to the 1996 Protocol and with that raise the liability limits to the 2012 limits as required of all contracting states of the 1996 Protocol by updating the Schedule of the Merchant Shipping Act.

Singapore’s ratification of the 1996 Protocol is intended to ensure Singapore’s limitation regime reflects the current value of life and property and is aligned with that of other countries that have acceded to the 1996 Protocol. It is also hoped that this will help promote and maintain Singapore’s position as an international maritime arbitration and dispute resolution hub and ensures that the Singapore Registry of Ships remains relevant and competitive.

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