(R.S. § 4283; Aug. 29, 1935, ch. 804, § 1, 49 Stat. 960; June 5, 1936, ch. 521, § 1, 49 Stat. 1479; Pub. L. 98–498, title II, § 213(a), Oct. 19, 1984, 98 Stat. 2306; Pub. L. 104–324, title XI, § 1129(a), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3984.)


R.S. § 4283 derived from act Mar. 3, 1851, ch. 43, § 3, 9 Stat. 635.


1996—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 104–324 added subsec. (g).
1984—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 98–498 substituted “$420” for “$60” in two places.
1936—Act June 5, 1936, amended section generally, provided, that when owner’s limited liability is insufficient to pay losses in full and the portion applicable to payment for loss of life or injury is less than $60 per ton, such portion be increased to $60 per ton, and if increased portion is insufficient, proportionate payments be made, inserted provision imputing privity or knowledge of master, superintendent, or managing agent to owner, construed “seagoing vessel” for purposes of section 183b of this Appendix as well as this section, and designated the amended provisions of section as subsecs. (a) to (f).
1935—Act Aug. 29, 1935, inserted provisions fixing total liability of owner of sea-going vessel, whether American or foreign, other than tugs, barges, or fishing vessels, for entire loss of life or injuries caused without his fault or privity at not less than $60 for each ton of such vessel or the amount of value of his interest in such vessel and her freight then pending, if the latter be a greater amount; fixed tonnage of steam or motor vessel as her gross tonnage, without deduction for engine room, and tonnage of a sailing vessel as her registered tonnage, not including space for seamen; and imposed on owners, liability for losses of life or injury on distinct occasions to the same extent as if no other loss or injury had arisen.

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Section 213(b) of Pub. L. 98–498 provided that: “The amendment made by subsection (a) [amending this section] shall apply to incidents occurring after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 19, 1984].”