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Limitation of Liability Act of 1851

In United States maritime law, the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 (46 U.S.C. app. § 183 (1984)), historically [1] or (46 U.S.C. §§ 30501 - 30512) since Feb. 1, 2010 [2], states that the owner of a vessel may limit damage claims to the value of the vessel at the end of the voyage plus "pending freight", as long as the owner can prove it lacked knowledge of the problem beforehand. This Act was the subject of a 2001 United States Supreme Court case in Lewis v. Lewis & Clark Marine, Inc.

Historically, the statute has been invoked to limit the liability of certain parties in the sinking of the RMS Titanic and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[1][2][3]

Latest developmentsEdit

The Deepwater Horizon Survivors' Fairness Act S. 183 (2011-2012) was a bill introduced in the Senate during the 112th Congress. The bill sought to amend the Limitation of Liability Act to make an exception for personal injuries and wrongful death claims related to the explosion and destruction of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform.[4] It was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The Congressional Budget Office provided a cost estimate.[5]


  1. ^ Gutia(c)Rrez, Norman A Marta-Nez; Gutiérrez, Norman A. Martínez (2011-02-26). Limitation of Liability in International Maritime Conventions: The Relationship Between Global Limitation Conventions and Particular Liability Regimes. Taylor & Francis. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-415-60140-5. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  2. ^ The Lawyer and Banker and Central Law Journal. Lawyers and Bankers' Corp. 1913. p. 348.
  3. ^ Jones, Ashby (May 13, 2010). "Transocean: Limit Our Liability to $27 Million - Law Blog - WSJ". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Bill Text, S.183.IS, 112th Congress (2011-2012)". The Library of Congress. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  5. ^ "Congressional Budget Estimate Cost Estimate for S. 183, Deepwater Horizon Survivors' Fairness Act" (PDF). Congressional Budget Office. June 17, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2011.