EU Regulation 392/2009 – Athens Protocol 2002

Legal, Regulatory — By on April 23, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Maria Pittordis*, – pictured,   Business Group Leader  Marine, Trade and Energy at Hill Dickinson  explains one of the most important issues.

In brief EU Regulation 392/2009 implements the Athens Protocol 2002 directly into the 27 EU Member States from 31 December 2012. The Regulation ensures a single set of rules governing the rights of carriers and their passengers in the event of an accident across the EU by adopting the 2002 Protocol almost wholesale. This is particularly important given the number of European passengers carried on cruise and ferry vessels. In the wake of major casualties it will no longer be necessary for a number of lawyers in a number of jurisdictions to apply different sets of rules to liability, limitation of liability, time bars, etc. Damages will still, however, be assessed in accordance with local law. Compensation for mobility equipment will be replacement cost. The new liability regime for shipping incidents and higher limits will apply. The Regulation will extend to different classes of ship over a period of time and inland waterways.

The Regulation obliges the performing carrier to make an advance payment in the event of the death (not less than €21, 000) or personal injury to a passenger caused by a shipping incident within 15 days. An advance payment does not constitute recognition of liability and may be offset against any subsequent sums paid. The payment is refundable in limited circumstances.

Liability is increased to 400, 000 SDRs per passenger per carriage. This is a per capita limit. The Regulation implements the IMO Guidelines which address terrorism related damage and applies an overall limitation of liability which is the lower of 250, 000 SDRs per passenger or 340, 000, 000 SDRs per ship on each distinct occasion, i.e. £332, 086, 381.53 for such incidents.

The compulsory insurance provisions for 250 000 SDRs per passenger evidenced by blue cards (allowing with few exceptions direct actions against insurers) which apply to the performing carriers for ships registered to aMemberStatehave caused great difficulty. The clubs have agreed to provide a blue card for the liabilities for death and injury already covered by them. The market is expected to provide blue cards for liabilities arising from war and terrorism. This is where there is still some controversy and uncertainty for the industry. It is anticipated that this will not be available for vessels with a hull value of more than one billion. Blue cards need to be in place by 1 January 2013. Where a non EU flag vessel is covered by the Regulation it will be required by the relevant State Party to have the blue cards in place when entering or leaving its ports. The provisions relating to the enforcement of these provisions by theUKand other member states is still awaited.

* Maria Pittordis qualified as a Barrister in 1985 and after two years at the Bar, joined Hill Dickinson in 1987. She is a specialist in dealing with all aspects arising from any accident minor or major, civil or criminal on land or at sea or offshore. Her involvement begins at the scene of an accident and continues through to trial. Maria has considerable experience in dealing with regulatory and prosecuting bodies including the Police, Health and Safety Executive, Local Authorities, Marine Accident Investigation Bureau, Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and Port of London Authority.
Maria heads the Marine Personal Injury team in London. She is a Health and Safety specialist offering proactive advice and training to clients on their responsibilities. She drafts/advises on health and safety procedures, policies, documentation, risk management and audits, drafts the necessary documents and trains management and personnel lectures widely and runs practical workshops on all aspects of personal injury and accident investigation.
Maria is a litigator with over 20 years’ experience, appearing as an advocate in the High Court, County Court, Coroners Court, Magistrates Court and Tribunals. She has been involved in a number of high profile cases and has investigated many cases involving not only serious injury or death but also rapes, sexual assaults and fights.
Maria has expertise in dealing with psychiatric injuries, Gastro Intestinal illness and multi-party litigation. She regularly advises passenger and tour operators in respect of their liabilities and has particular expertise on Athens Convention and other cruise/ ferry issues. She drafts brochure and ticket terms and conditions and contractual indemnities and acts for a number of Cruise operators.
Maria also acts for a number of UK Port Operators and the offshore industry.
In the maritime sector, Maria’s clients include owners of all types of ships and their P&I insurers. Maria has been involved in cases such as Bowsprite, Bowbelle/Marchioness, the QE2 grounding, the Achille Lauro, Sandkite and the Stena Discovery.  

For further information, viewers can contact her on:  maria.pittordis@hilldickinson.com

www.allaboutshipping.co.uk    look forward to your comments.-

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