Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea
- Type: Convention
- Date of signature: 13/12/1974
- Place of signature: Athens, Greece
- Depositary: International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- Date of entry into force: 28/04/1987
What is it about?
This Convention consolidates and harmonizes the regime of liability for damage suffered by passengers carried on seagoing vessels. The carrier is liable if the incident causing the damage or loss occurred in the course of the carriage and was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier.
Why is it relevant?
This instrument establishes international agreed limits of liability for damage suffered by passengers in the course of the carriage by vessel. It declares a carrier liable for damage or loss suffered by a passenger if the incident was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier. For death or personal injury of a passenger the limit is set at 46,666 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per carriage, approximately 61,000 USD. However, there is no limit of liability if the carrier acted with intent to cause the damage or recklessly and with knowledge that such damage would result.
The 2002 Protocol is the most important Protocol that followed this Convention (There were two others: The 1989 Protocol, which changed the unit of account from the ‘Poincaré franc,’ based on the official value of gold, to SDR; and the 1990 Protocol, which was completely superseded by 2002 Protocol). It replaces the fault-based liability system with a strict liability system (no-fault liability), establishing the limits of strict liability to 250,000 SDR per passenger, approximately 325,000 USD. If the loss exceeds the limit the carrier is further liable up to a limit of 400,000 SDR per passenger, approximately 524,000 USD, unless the carrier proves that the incident which caused the loss occurred without the fault or neglect of the carrier. Moreover, the 2002 Protocol introduces compulsory insurance to cover passengers on ships, requiring carriers to maintain insurance or other financial security to cover the limits of strict liability (no-fault liability) under the Convention. Such limit should not be less than 250,000 SDR, approximately 325,000 USD, per passenger. This Protocol will enter into force 12 months after being accepted by 10 States.
- Convention on the International Maritime Organization (Geneva, 06/03/1948)