Recently, Nanjing Maritime Court (hereinafter referred to as “the court”) made its first order on the constitution of a limitation fund for maritime claims. In this case, the vessel involved is “Dingheng 18” owned by Dingheng Company. For limiting the liability of non-personal injury and losses caused by the collision of the vessel, Dingheng Company applied to the court for the constitution of a limitation fund for maritime claims.
After thorough investigation in accordance with the law, the court accepted the security and ordered the approval on constituting a limitation fund for maritime claims. All the parties did not file appeals within the appeal period, thereafter the order has come into effect.
On 27 July 2020, the chemical tanker Dingheng 18 collided with a dry cargo vessel Taidong Cargo 5588 in the Yangtze River waterway (near the FB6 red buoy), which caused Taidong Cargo 5588 turned over and the cargo on board fell into water and sank. Dingheng Company applied for establishing a maritime liability limitation fund in 50% of the general fund amount, pursuant to the Provisions on the Limitation of Maritime Claims for Vessels of Less than 300 Gross Tons and Vessels of Coastal Transportation and Coastal operation issued by the Ministry of Transport (hereinafter referred to as the Decision). The interested person Xindongwu Company argued that Dingheng 18 has IMO number and the China Classification Society certificate, thus it was not the case listed in the Decision and the Decision cannot be applied to reduce the fund amount.
As in this case, Dingheng 18 was in an unloaded state when the accident occurred and the route of its voyage was unclear, by investigating and comparing the route of its last voyage and its next transport plan, the court consequently concluded that this case conformed with the conditions of the Decision and therefore the Decision can be applied and the amount of the fund can be limited to 50% of its general amount, which is 229,959 (SDR) and the corresponding interest.
Nanjing Maritime Court attaches great importance to maritime special procedures, and in this case the President in charge served as the presiding judge. As many procedural blind spots and doubts were answered, the professional ability and efficiency of the judges were greatly acclaimed by the parties.