The EU Passenger Liability Regulation 392/2009 (PLR), effective since December 31, 2012, applies to all European Union and European Economic Area (EEA) member states. Aligned with the Athens Convention 2002, it establishes a comprehensive framework for compensating claims related to passenger injury and death. The Athens Convention came into force on April 23, 2014.

PLR covers international carriage within the European Union and on EU-flagged vessels since the end of 2012, extending to seagoing domestic voyages after a phased implementation period. Notably, both PLR and the Athens Convention mandate compulsory insurance, necessitating shipowners to carry a Certificate confirming compliance.

In this article we will discuss the revised PLR (background; revised liability and limits, revised compulsory insurance, revised terrorism, revised application and scope), revised Information to rassengers and the revised Athens Convention.

In 2002, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convened a Diplomatic Conference, adopting the Athens Convention 2002 concerning the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea. While the European Union aimed to fortify passenger protection in all transportation modes and encouraged member states to ratify the Convention, it only entered into force on April 23, 2014, a year after ratification by ten states.

To address this, the EU incorporated the Convention’s essence into the EU Passenger Liability Regulation 392/2009 (PLR), effective from December 31, 2012. PLR introduced substantial compensation and insurance obligations for operators of passenger vessels in Europe or under EU member state flags.

The liability framework distinguishes between shipping incidents and non-shipping incidents. For shipping incidents, strict liability exists up to SDR 250,000 per passenger, with the carrier potentially liable up to SDR 400,000 unless proven otherwise. Non-shipping incidents hold carriers liable up to SDR 400,000 per passenger, with the burden of proving negligence on the claimant.

The Regulation and the Convention lack a single global limit, with the total exposure contingent on the number of passengers. Notably, carriers can invoke defenses for shipping incidents under specified conditions.

PLR and the Athens Convention bring about significant changes in compulsory insurance and certification requirements. Article 4 bis of the Convention outlines detailed provisions. Ships subject to PLR must carry a Certificate confirming insurance compliance, issued by the flag state or an EU Member State.

Certificates must follow the prescribed format in PLR, even though it refers to the Convention not yet in force. The distinction between “non-war” and “war” blue cards addresses liabilities, with P&I Clubs in the International Group issuing them.

While PLR includes a defense for acts of war, it lacks reference to terrorism. Standard P&I cover excludes war risks, creating a challenge for issuing blue cards for terrorism risks. To address this, the IMO introduced a Reservation and Guidelines for Implementation in 2006, allowing the issuance of separate blue cards for war and terrorism risks.

The Regulation applies to all sea-going ships licensed to carry more than twelve passengers on international and domestic voyages within the EU/EEA. PLR’s scope extends beyond the Athens Convention’s international carriage, covering Class A, B, C, and D vessels, subject to varying state applications.

Article 7 of PLR mandates providing passengers with comprehensive information on their rights under the Regulation. The Commission published a summary in December 2012, outlining minimum information requirements for passengers.

Coexisting with PLR, the Athens Convention entered into force on April 23, 2014. Recognition of Certificates between EU/EEA Member States and non-EU states party to the Convention presented challenges, prompting dialogue and resolutions by the International Group.

Several states ratified the Convention, with some including reservations related to terrorism provisions. Recognition issues of Certificates have been addressed through dialogue with concerned states.

Diploma in Maritime Business

The Course consists of the following Modules:

  1. Shipping Economics & Finance
  2. Advance Shipping Law
  3. Strategic Shipping Management
  4. Marine Insurance
  5. Port Logistics
  6. Applied Shipping Business Case Study