• Limitation Must be a Vessel Owner's First Thought
  • April 22, 2013 | Author: Stephen H. Clement
  • Law Firm: Jones Walker LLP - New Orleans Office
  • In In re Marquette Transp. Co., LLC, a vessel owner suffered severe consequences for failing to file for limitation within the statutorily required filing period. 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152747 (E.D. La. Oct. 24, 2012). The Limitation of Shipowners' Liability Act allows a vessel owner to limit its liability to the value of its vessel (and pending freight). 46 U.S.C. § 30505. To secure this statutory benefit, the Act requires that vessel owners file their petition to limit liability "within six months after a claimant gives the owner written notice of a claim." 46 U.S.C. § 30511(a). "The purpose of the six-month prescription on the limitation of liability petition is to require the shipowner to act promptly to gain the benefit of the statutory right to limit liability." Exxon Shipping Co. v. Cailleteau, 869 F.2d 843, 846 (5th Cir. 1989). The Act's sixmonth filing requirement is a mandatory, jurisdictional requirement; "[i]f the action is not filed within that six-month period, it is dismissed as untimely."