One of the most important decisions of the Hong Kong Admiralty Court was handed down on 26 July 2023.
The Owners of "ANTEA" agreed that they were 100% liable for the collision between that vessel and "STAR CENTURION". That collision resulted in the total loss of "STAR CENTURION" which sank. A wreck removal order was issued by Indonesian Authorities and the wreck of "STAR CENTURION" was duly removed by her owners who spent a substantial in doing so. The wreck removal claim (and a claim for the loss of "STAR CENTURION") was made by "STAR CENTURION" interests.
"ANTEA" interests issued limitation proceedings and constituted a limitation fund in Hong Kong. "STAR CENTURION" interests maintained that the wreck removal claim against "ANTEA" was not subject to limitation as the application of Article 2.1 (d) of the Limitation Convention had been suspended pursuant to Section 15 (3) of the Merchant Shipping (Limitation of Shipowners Liability) Ordinance (Cap 434).
The Hong Kong Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal and now the Court of Final Appeal upheld "STAR CENTURION"'s assertion.
This decision has relevance for many jurisdictions that have made a similar reservation pursuant to Article 18 of Limitation of Ship Owners Liability Convention 1976 in relation to the application of Article 2.1 (d) of that convention relating to claims for wreck removal expenses.
A copy of the CFA judgment can be found at [Link].
Howse Williams represented "STAR CENTURION" interests in this case.