Members involved in landmark case on breaking limit under the Limitation Convention 1976

Tue, 11 October, 2016

Members of Quadrant Chambers have been involved in The Atlantik Confidence [2016] EWHC 2412 (Admiralty), a landmark case in the Admiralty Court regarding the breaking of limits under the Limitation Convention 1976 (as amended in 1996). It is the first case in which an English Court has determined that a person was barred from relying on the limits provided by the Convention.

Nigel Jacobs QC and Ruth Hosking (instructed by HFW) acted on behalf of cargo underwriters (Axa) seeking to break limits, and Robert Thomas QC, Thomas Macey-Dare, and Koye Akoni (instructed by Clyde & Co) sought to maintain limits on behalf of the shipowner and P&I Club. The case arose in the context of the fire on board and subsequent sinking of the bulk carrier, ATLANTIK CONFIDENCE, about 150 nautical miles off the coast of Oman while on a laden voyage from Turkey to Oman. After a trial spanning over 7 weeks, and evidence from 12 witnesses of fact and 12 experts, Teare J concluded that the vessel was deliberately sunk by the master and chief engineer at the request of the alter ego of the shipowner. In such circumstances the loss of the cargo resulted from his personal act committed with the intent to cause such loss and Article 4 of the Limitation Convention applied so that the Owners’ claim for a limitation decree was dismissed.

A copy of the judgment is available here. A detailed briefing by HFW can be viewed here.