As from 1 January 2012, ship owners operating ships 0f 300 gross tons or more – irrespective of flag – are obliged to have insurance in place for maritime claims as defined in Directive 2009/20/EC of 23 April 2009 on insurance of ship owners for maritime claims.

This insurance shall cover maritime claims subject to limitation under the 1996 LLMC. The amount of the insurance for each and every ship per incident shall be equal to the relevant maximum amount for the limitation of liability as laid down in the 1996 Convention. The insurance needs to be in place at the latest when the ship enters a Member State’s port and the existence thereof shall be proved by means of a certificate, issued by its provider and carried onboard the ship.

Member States’ Port State Control inspectors can check whether this insurance is in place or not and they have, in the latter case, the right to expel the ship, in which case access to the ship will be denied in other Member States’ ports until a relevant insurance certificate has been notified. Furthermore, the Directive also imposes penalties upon a hip owner in case of breach.

Source: BIMCO Bulletin 2012 Volume 107

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