Protocol of 2002 to the Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and Their Luggage by Sea, 1974

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: London, United Kingdom
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 23/04/2014


Transport and telecommunications

Sub category

Maritime transport



What is it about?

The Protocol introduces compulsory insurance to cover passengers on ships and raises the limits of liability. The Protocol also introduces other mechanisms to assist passengers in obtaining compensation, based on well-accepted principles applied in existing liability and compensation regimes dealing with environmental pollution. These include replacing the fault-based liability system with a strict liability system for shipping related incidents, backed by the requirement that the carrier take out compulsory insurance to cover these potential claims. The limits contained in the Protocol set a maximum limit (now 250 000 SDR per passenger), empowering national courts to compensate for death, injury or damage up to these limits.

Why is it relevant?

It supersedes and effectively replaces the Athens Convention and its other earlier Protocols. States which ratify the 2002 Protocol are required to denounce the 1974 Convention and its 1976 and 1990 Protocols, if at the time they are party to the 1974 Convention and those Protocols.

Additional Information

The 1974 Convention consolidates and harmonizes the regime of liability for damage suffered by passengers carried on seagoing vessels. Liability was incurred where the incident occurred through the fault of the carrier. Three Protocols followed the convention, although the 2002 Protocol is considered the most important. It replaced the fault based liability system with a strict liability system. The 2002 Protocol also includes an "opt-out" clause, enabling State Parties to retain or introduce higher limits of liability (or unlimited liability) in the case of carriers who are subject to the jurisdiction of their courts.


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