Accidents at sea
Accidents at sea

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Accidents at sea
  • Carrier
  • International carriage by sea
  • Liability for accidents
  • Strict liability for ‘shipping incidents’
  • Insurance
  • Limits on Liability
  • Limitation
  • Jurisdiction
  • Practitioner issues
  • More...

Accidents at sea

Originally produced in partnership with Sarah Prager of 1 Chancery Lane. Updated in partnership with Andrew Wilson.

NOTE: Since the UK applies the provisions of the Athens Convention directly by the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 it is difficult to envisage that the UK’s departure from the EU will result in any change. For guidance, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for PI & Clinical Negligence claims?

Almost all accidents at sea are governed by the Athens Convention (the Convention), which is given effect in the UK by section 183 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 (MSA 1995).

It is important to note that the Convention was subject to substantial amendment pursuant to the Protocol of 2002. Those amendments are contained in the ‘Consolidated Convention’. From 31 December 2012 the EU adopted Regulation (EC) 392/2009 in order to implement the 2002 Protocol. The Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Passengers by Sea) Regulations 2012, SI 2012/3152, implemented this EU Regulation in the UK. Otherwise, the 2002 Protocol came into effect on 23 April 2014. For full details of the implementation of the 2002 Protocol practitioners should refer to a specialist text.

The purpose of the Protocol, recited in the preamble, was the updating of the Convention, it being considered:

‘…desirable to revise the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, done at

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