Directive 2009/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the insurance of shipowners for maritime claims (Text with EEA relevance)

Directive 2009/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the insurance of shipowners for maritime claims (Text with EEA relevance)


Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 80(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(2),

Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the Treaty(3),


  1. One element of Community maritime transport policy is to improve the quality of merchant shipping by making all economic operators act more responsibly.

  2. Dissuasive measures have already been adopted under Directive 2005/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on ship source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements(4).

  3. On 9 October 2008, the Member States adopted a statement in which they unanimously recognised the importance of the application of the 1996 Protocol to the 1976 Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims by all Member States.

  4. The obligation to have insurance should make it possible to ensure better protection for victims. It should also help to eliminate substandard ships and make it possible to reestablish competition between operators. Furthermore, in Resolution A.898(21), the International Maritime Organisation invited States to urge shipowners to be properly insured.

  5. Non compliance with the provisions of this Directive should be rectified. Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on port State control (recast)(5) already provides for the detention of ships in the case of absence of certificates which have to be carried on board. However, it is appropriate to provide for the possibility of expelling a ship which does not carry a certificate of insurance. The modalities of the expulsion should allow the situation to be rectified within a reasonable time period.

  6. Since the objectives of this Directive, namely the introduction and implementation of appropriate measures in the field of maritime transport policy, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can therefore, by reason of its scale and effects, be better achieved at Community level, the Community may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives,


Article 1 Subject matter

This Directive lays down rules applicable to certain aspects of the obligations on shipowners as regards their insurance for maritime claims.

Article 2 Scope


This Directive shall apply to ships of 300 gross tonnage or more.


This Directive shall not apply to warships, auxiliary warships or other State owned or operated ships used for a non commercial public service.


This Directive shall be without prejudice to the regimes established by the instruments in force in the Member State concerned and listed in the Annex hereto.

Article 3 Definitions

For the purpose of this Directive, the following definitions shall apply:

  1. ‘shipowner’ means the registered owner of a seagoing ship, or any other person such as the bareboat charterer who is responsible for the operation of the ship;

  2. ‘insurance’ means insurance with or without deductibles, and comprises, for example, indemnity insurance of the type currently provided by members of the International Group of P & I Clubs, and other effective forms of insurance (including proved self insurance) and financial security offering similar conditions of cover;

  3. ‘1996 Convention’ means the consolidated text of the 1976 Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), as amended by the 1996 Protocol.

Article 4 Insurance for maritime claims


Each Member State shall require that shipowners of ships flying its flag have insurance covering such ships.


Each Member State shall require shipowners of ships flying a flag other than its own to have insurance in place when such ships enter a port under the Member State's jurisdiction. This shall not prevent Member States, if in conformity with international law, from requiring compliance with that obligation when such ships are operating in their territorial waters.


The insurance referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall cover maritime claims subject to limitation under the 1996 Convention. The amount of the insurance for each and every ship per incident shall be equal to the relevant maximum amount for the limitation of liability as laid down in the 1996 Convention.

Article 5 Inspections, compliance, expulsion from ports and denial of access to ports

Article 6 Insurance certificates

Article 7 Penalties

Article 8 Reports

Article 9 Transposition

Article 10 Entry into force

Article 11 Addressees