Merchant Shipping (Liability of Shipowners and Others) Act, 1958

Publication Date01 Nov 1958
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1958.tb00501.x
AuthorO. C. Giles,O. Kahn‐Freund
LEG
IS
LATI
ON
MERCIUNT
SHIPPING (LIABILITY
OF
SHIPOWNERS
AND
OTHERS)
ACT,
1058
TEE
Merchant Shipping (Liability of Shipowners and Others) Act,
1058,
gives effect to the International Convention relating to the
Limitation of the Liability of Owners of Seagoing Ships, signed in
Brussels
on
October
10, 1957
(Cmnd.
858).
The conference at
which the Convention was negotiated also discussed two other con-
ventions-one concerning the landing and maintenance
of
stow-
aways, and the other concerning liability
to
passengers-but neither
came
to
fruition.
The efforts of the draftsman of the new Act, who recast the
Convention in terms suitable for the statute, are evident, for
example, from the following quotations. The Act says in section
1
(1)
:
the number by which the amount substituted by para-
graph
(a)
of this subsection is to be multiplied shall be
800
in
any case where the tonnage concerned is less than
800
tons.” The
Convention had expressed the rule thus (Art.
8
(5)
):
For
the
purposes of ascertaining the limit
of
an owner’s liability
. . .
the
tonnage of a ship
of
less than
300
tons shall be deemed
to
be
300
tons.”
The Act makes section
503 of
the Merchant Shipping Act,
1894,
as variously amended, conform with the Convention.
The most important change-which also received the greatest
publicity at the time when conference proceedings were reported
in the Press-relates to the calculation
of
the limited amount which
a ship operator has
to
pay in damages. British law-the relevant
Part of the
1894
Act was imperial in scope (see
s.
509)-had
provided that personal claims could be limited
to
€15
per ton and
property claims to
€8
per
ton, amounts fixed over
100
years ago
and long unduly favourable to the shipowner. In future, the figures
will be
3,100
and
1,000
gold francs, respectively, one gold franc
to be a unit of
654
milligrams of gold of millesimal fineness
000
(s.
1
(1)
and
(2)).
The Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation
has power to specify sterling equivalents from time
to
time
(s.
1
(3)))
and he has done
so
by the Merchant Shipping (Limitation
of Liability) (Sterling Equivalents) Order,
1058,
the respective
equivalents being
€78 8s. 10-5/32d.
and
€28 18s. 9-27132d.
The Convention also provides (Art.
3
(1)
(c)) that where
liability arises in respect of both personal and property claims,
2,100
out of the
3,100
gold francs pcr ton shall be appropriated
to personal claims; where this does not satisfy the personal claim-
ants, the latter shall share in the balance rateably with the property
042

To continue reading

Request your trial