The Athens Convention & 2002 Protocol now in force

It is almost a year since The Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1974 and the Protocol of 2002 to the Convention came into force.

Only ten states needed to sign up to the Convention for it to be ratified, and the following were among the first to do so:

  • Albania
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Greece
  • Latvia
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Serbia
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • United Kingdom

The Protocol of 2002 is now mandatory for all EU Member States including those which have yet to ratify the Athens Protocol individually. The Protocol has increased the limits of liability to 250,000 SDR per passenger for any damages suffered by a passenger carried on a ship if the incident causing the damage was due to the fault or negligence of the carrier. Any action for damages arising out of the death of or personal injury to a passenger, or for the loss of or damage to luggage is now time-barred after a two year period.

Ships which are licensed to carry more than twelve passengers must now be certified by the Flag State or by an authorised institution or organisation. A certificate needs to be issued confirming that insurance or some other form of financial security is in place, and this certificate must be placed on board the ship. These certificates need to be in the official language of the issuing State. If this is not English, French or Spanish, then the text must include a translation into one of these languages. Ships which are registered in a non State Party may be certified by the appropriate authority of any State Party.

The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks recently entered into force on 14th April 2015. Like the Athens Convention, it too requires a certificate to be placed on board ships over 300GT to confirm that insurance or another form of financial security is in place. As more of these Conventions come into effect, the more onerous it is for a registrar or flag administration to issue and manage the volume of certification now required.

Vessel HQ software was designed for the specific purpose of enabling registries to issue certificates with minimum effort, to keep accurate up-to-date records on all registered ships, and to permit Flag States to provide reports and statistics with speed and ease. The platform contains pre-loaded templates for the issue of certificates such as for the Athens and Nairobi Conventions, and these certificates can be issued quickly and easily by an authorised signatory.

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