From: Erik Røsæg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Athens Correspondence Group (IMO Legal Committee): Articles 3 and 6
For your information, here's an exchange between Dr. Beate Czerwenka and myself concerning Articles 3 and 6 of the Athens Convention, 2002.
At 14.12.2004, Beate Czerwenka wrote:
due to time constraints I was not able to actively participate in the
negotiations on the availability of financial security in respect of the
association I wonder, however, whether there might be some disagreement as
to the basis of the discussion.
In the letter mentioned above it was stated that according to Article 3 of
the Athens Convention 2002 the carrier shall be liable for the total loss if
he cannot prove that the incident was wholly caused by a third party. I have
doubts whether such an interpretation is correct. Rather I would - in
analogy to Article 6 of the Athens Convention - read the provision in the
sense that the carrier shall be liable for the whole or part of the loss to
the extent he cannot prove that the loss was caused by a third party.
I do not recall whether there has been a discussion on that issue. Could you
give me some guidance and eventually inform me about your opinion on that
Thank you in advance
and best regards,
Dr. G. Beate Czerwenka,
Federal Ministry of Justice
Tel.: +49 (30) 2025 9314
Fax: +49 (1888) 10580 9314
At 14.12.2004, Erik Røsæg wrote:
I am glad to see you actively back on the
The matter you mention has indeed been discussed. At the Diplomatic Conference, the Committee of the Whole even voted on whether all terrorism related losses should be excluded, or only those wholly caused by terrorism (on the basis of LEG/CONF.13/11
<http://rosaeg.no/erikro/WWW/corrgr/dipcon/11.pdf>). The result was that losses caused by terrorism (and other intentional acts of third parties) should only be excluded when they were "wholly caused" by such acts. This is well reflected in the Convention, where the exceptions for war and third party acts are differently worded.
Article 6 of the Convention deals with contributory negligence by the passenger claimant:
If the carrier proves that the death of or personal injury to a passenger or the loss of or damage to
his luggage was caused or contributed to by the fault or neglect of the passenger, the Court seized
of the case may exonerate the carrier wholly or partly from his liability in accordance with the
provisions of the law of that court.
Directly it does not, as you point out, provide for an exception to the terrorism liability (except, of course, in relation to the terrorist himself if he is a passenger). For may part I cannot see that it is possible to use an analogy from this clear wording to override the equally clear wording of article 3. Thus it does not suffice for the carrier to prove that the loss to some extent - and not wholly - was caused by a terrorist.
If the carrier is liable, the same rules of limitation of liability apply to claims caused by terrorism as to other claims.
This issue concerning article 6 has been raises a couple of times, but I do not think there is a written record on it. If I may, I would therefore very much like to distribute our correspondence to the Correspondence Group.
On 15.12.2004, Beate Czerwenka wrote:
thank you very much for your fast response and your analysis. I agree that article 3 seems to be quite clear. I had just wondered whether one could not argue in a different way. After having read your e-mail and reconsidered the issue I must admit, however, that an analogy to article 6 is hardly possible.
I do not have any objections to circulating our correspondence to the Correspondence Group.
Professor Erik Røsæg (Rosaeg)
Instituttleder, Nordisk institutt for sjørett, Universitetet i Oslo
Director, Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University
Karl Johansgt 47
POB 6706 St. Olavs plass
Tel: (+47) 22 85 97 52
Fax: (+47) 97 38 49 98
<mailto:email@example.com (Erik Rosaeg)>