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Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Limitation of Liability and the Baltimore Bridge Disaster

While there are many facts to discover about why the Dali collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge, one fact that often comes as a surprise to people who are unfamiliar with maritime law is that the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851 may apply here to limit the exposure of the vessel operator to the sum of the ship's value and the value of its cargo. That sum would be far less than the damage done. It's a feature of maritime shipping law that is now a bug. Congress should reconsider this ancient statute before it does more harm.

UPDATE: Some people are incorrectly referring to the Limitation of Liability Act as the "Titanic Law." The owners of the Titanic did successfully invoke the Act, but the law long predated that disaster.

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on March 26, 2024 at 01:49 PM | Permalink


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