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§ 183b. Stipulations limiting time for filing claims and commencing suit

(a) Time periods
It shall be unlawful for the manager, agent, master, or owner of any sea-going vessel (other than tugs, barges, fishing vessels and their tenders) transporting passengers or merchandise or property from or between ports of the United States and foreign ports to provide by rule, contract, regulation, or otherwise a shorter period for giving notice of, or filing claims for loss of life or bodily injury, than six months, and for the institution of suits on such claims, than one year, such period for institution of suits to be computed from the day when the death or injury occurred.
(b) Claims not barred for failure to give notice
Failure to give such notice, where lawfully prescribed in such contract, shall not bar any such claim—
(1) If the owner or master of the vessel or his agent had knowledge of the injury, damage, or loss and the court determines that the owner has not been prejudiced by the failure to give such notice; nor
(2) If the court excuses such failure on the ground that for some satisfactory reason such notice could not be given; nor
(3) Unless objection to such failure is raised by the owner.
(c) Mental incompetents; minors; wrongful death actions
If a person who is entitled to recover on any such claim is mentally incompetent or a minor, or if the action is one for wrongful death, any lawful limitation of time prescribed in such contract shall not be applicable so long as no legal representative has been appointed for such incompetent, minor, or decedent’s estate, but shall be applicable from the date of the appointment of such legal representative: Provided, however, That such appointment be made within three years after the date of such death or injury.

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