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Guiding Case No. 112: Case of Application for Establishment of the Funds for Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims by Astk Co., Ltd.
指导案例112号:阿斯特克有限公司申请设立海事赔偿责任限制基金案
【法宝引证码】

Guiding Case No. 112: Case of Application for Establishment of the Funds for Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims by Astk Co., Ltd. 指导案例112号:阿斯特克有限公司申请设立海事赔偿责任限制基金案
(Issued on February 25, 2019 as deliberated and adopted by the Judicial Committee of the Supreme People's Court) (最高人民法院审判委员会讨论通过 2019年2月25日发布)
Guiding Case No. 112 指导案例112号
Keywords 关键词
Civil; funds for limitation of liability for maritime claims; principle of accidents; one accident; multiple accidents 民事/海事赔偿责任限制基金/事故原则/一次事故/多次事故
Key Points of Judgment 裁判要点

Article 212 of the Maritime Law specifies that the limitation of liability for maritime claims should be governed by the principle of “one quota for one accident and multiple quotas for multiple accidents.” The key to judge one accident or multiple accidents is whether the accidents are arising from the same cause. If multiple accidents are arising from the same cause and the chain of causes is not interrupted, it should be determined as one accident. If the chain of causes is interrupted and another accident occurs, it should be determined that a new and independent accident is formed.

 海商法二百一十二条确立海事赔偿责任限制实行“一次事故,一个限额,多次事故,多个限额”的原则。判断一次事故还是多次事故的关键是分析事故之间是否因同一原因所致。如果因同一原因发生多个事故,且原因链没有中断的,应认定为一次事故。如果原因链中断并再次发生事故,则应认定为形成新的独立事故。
三年不开张,开张吃三年

Legal Provisions
 相关法条
Article 212 of the Maritime Law of the People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国海商法》第212条不能给市场做人工呼吸
Basic Facts感觉黑人都特别团结 基本案情
Astk Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Astk Company”) filed an application with the Tianjin Maritime Court and claimed that its vessel “Saaraon” has received claims for aquaculture damage. With respect to the non-personal casualty losses caused by this accident, as the owner of the vessel “Saaraon,” Astk Company applied for establishing the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims and the liability limit was the special drawing right (SDR) of CNY422,510 and the interest thereof from June 5, 2014 to the date of the establishment of the fund. 阿斯特克有限公司向天津海事法院提出申请称,其所属的“艾侬”轮收到养殖损害索赔请求。对于该次事故所造成的非人身伤亡损失,阿斯特克有限公司作为该轮的船舶所有人申请设立海事赔偿责任限制基金,责任限额为422510特别提款权及该款项自2014年6月5日起至基金设立之日止的利息。
Many farmers raised objections as interested persons and they deemed that Astk Company should separately establish limitation funds rather than establish one fund for the whole voyage. 众多养殖户作为利害关系人提出异议,认为阿斯特克有限公司应当分别设立限制基金,而不能就整个航次设立一个限制基金。
The Tianjin Maritime Court found that the owner of the Korean vessel “Saaraon” involved was Astk Company, with the gross tonnage of 2,030 tons. On June 5, 2014, on the way of loading from Qinhuangdao Port to Tianjin Port, the vessel “Saaraon” sailed into aquaculture areas in the waters of Changli County and Laoting County, Hebei Province, causing aquaculture losses of the relevant farmers. 法院查明:涉案船舶韩国籍“艾侬”轮的所有人为阿斯特克有限公司,船舶总吨位为2030吨。2014年6月5日,“艾侬”轮自秦皇岛开往天津港装货途中,在河北省昌黎县、乐亭县海域驶入养殖区域,造成了相关养殖户的养殖损失。
It was also found that the vessel “Saaraon” used the British Admiralty Chart (No. 1249) (hereinafter referred to as the “B.A. Chart”) when the accident in this case occurred and the B.A. Chart has indicated that aquaculture areas have been set in the waters where the accident occurred. For the purpose of executing the preset route for the voyage invovled, the vessel invovled sailed through the aquaculture areas. 另查明,“艾侬”轮在本案损害事故发生时使用英版1249号海图,该海图已标明本案损害事故发生的海域设置了养殖区,并划定了养殖区范围。涉案船舶为执行涉案航次所预先设定的航线穿越该养殖区。
It was also found that the distance between the aquaculture areas of Guo Jinwu and Liu Haizhong was about 500 meters, which took about 2 minutes for the vessel invovled to sail; and the distance between the aquaculture areas of Liu Haizhong and Li Weiguo, and other persons was about 9,000 meters, which took about 30 minutes for the vessel invovled to sail. 再查明,郭金武与刘海忠的养殖区相距约500米左右,涉案船舶航行时间约2分钟;刘海忠与李卫国等人的养殖区相距约9000米左右,涉案船舶航行时间约30分钟。
Judgment 裁判结果
On November 10, 2014, the Tianjin Maritime Court entered a civil ruling (No. 1 [2014], Limitation, Tianjin) that: (1) The application of Astk Company for establishing the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims should be approved. (2) The amount of the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims should be the SDR of CNY422,510 and the interest thereof (calculated from June 5, 2014 to the date of the establishment of the fund at the benchmark interest rate for loans granted by financial institutions over the same period of time as determined by the People's Bank of China). (3) Astk Company should, within three days after this ruling came into force, establish the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims with RMB or guarantee recognized by the Court (the RMB amount of the fund should be calculated according to the methods of conversion between the SDR at the effective date of the ruling and RMB). Where the fund was not established within the prescribed time limit, it should be handled as automatic withdrawal of the application. Guo Jinwu and Liu Haizhong refused to accept the ruling of first instance and appealed to the Higher People's Court of Tianjin Municipality. On January 19, 2015, the Higher People's Court of Tianjin Municipality entered a civil ruling (No. 10 [2015], Final, Civil Division IV, HPC, Tianjin) to dismiss the appeal and affirm the original judgment. Guo Jinwu, Liu Haizhong, Li Weiguo, Zhao Laijun, Qi Yongping, Li Jianyong, and Qi Xiukui refused to accept the ruling of second instance and applied for retrial. On August 10, 2015, the Supreme People's Court entered a civil ruling (No. 853 [2015], Petition, Civil Division, SPC) to retry this case and on September 29, 2015, the Supreme People's Court entered a civil ruling (No. 151 [2015], Review, Civil Division, SPC) that: (1) The civil ruling (No. 10 [2015], Final, Civil Division IV, HPC, Tianjin) entered by the Higher People's Court of Tianjin Municipality should be sedt aside. (2) The civil ruling (No. 1 [2014], Limitation, Tianjin) entered by the Tianjin Maritime Court should be set aside. (3) The application of Astk Company for establishing the fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims should be dismissed. 天津海事法院于2014年11月10日作出(2014)津海法限字第1号民事裁定:一、准许阿斯特克有限公司提出的设立海事赔偿责任限制基金的申请。二、海事赔偿责任限制基金数额为422510特别提款权及利息(利息自2014年6月5日起至基金设立之日止,按中国人民银行确定的金融机构同期一年期贷款基准利率计算)。三、阿斯特克有限公司应在裁定生效之日起三日内以人民币或法院认可的担保设立海事赔偿责任限制基金(基金的人民币数额按本裁定生效之日的特别提款权对人民币的换算办法计算)。逾期不设立基金的,按自动撤回申请处理。郭金武、刘海忠不服一审裁定,向天津市高级人民法院提起上诉。天津市高级人民法院于2015年1月19日作出(2015)津高民四终字第10号民事裁定:驳回上诉,维持原裁定。郭金武、刘海忠、李卫国、赵来军、齐永平、李建永、齐秀奎不服二审裁定,申请再审。最高人民法院于2015年8月10日作出(2015)民申字第853号民事裁定,提审本案,并于2015年9月29日作出(2015)民提字第151号民事裁定:一、撤销天津市高级人民法院(2015)津高民四终字第10号民事裁定。二、撤销天津海事法院(2014)津海法限字第1号民事裁定。三、驳回阿斯特克有限公司提出的设立海事赔偿责任限制基金的申请。
Judgment's Reasoning 裁判理由
The Supreme People's Court held that it was specified in Article 212 of the Maritime Law that the limitation of liability for maritime claims should follow the principle of accidents, namely, “one quota for one accident and multiple quotas for multiple accidents.” The key to judge one accident or multiple accidents was whether the accidents were arising from the same cause. If multiple accidents were arising from the same cause and the chain of causes was not interrupted, it should be determined as one accident. If the chain of causes was interrupted and there was a new cause intervening, the new cause and the new accident constituted a new causal relationship and a new and independent accident was formed. As far as this case was concerned, the B.A. Chart used by the vessel “Saaraon” has explicitly indicated the scope of the aquaculture areas, but its seamen still set the route to the aquaculture areas and the vessel “Saaraon” itself was at gross fault. Under the circumstance where the vessel involved foreknew that there may be large aquaculture areas in the waters it would sail through, it should strengthen the obligation of keeping a lookout to ensure the voyage safety and avoid collusion into the aquaculture areas and causing any loss. According to the trajectory of the vessel involved, it has actually sailed into the aquaculture area operated by Guo Jinwu. Considering that the damage accident occurred at noon and there was no such visual disturbance at night, if the seamen have prudently performed the obligation of sailing by keeping a lookout, they would have noticed the aquaculture floats hung on the sea. Under the circumstance where the Oceanic Bureau of Changli County produced evidence proving that Guo Jinwu has actually suffered the damage, it may be presumed that the seamen have not prudently performed the obligation of keeping a lookout, which caused the occurrence of the first tort. According to the trajectory, the vessel invovled soon afterwards sailed into the aquaculture area operated by Liu Haizhong. Since the aquaculture area operated by Guo Jinwu was adjacent to that operated by Liu Haizhong and there was a distance of only 500 meters between them, on the basis of the motion inertia and sailing rules of vessels, the vessel invovled failed to adopt reasonable measures to keep clear the aquaculture area operated by Liu Haizhong under such circumstance, causing the occurrence of the second tort. Based on the analysis of reasons, the two damaging acts were caused by the seamen's fault of failing to keep a lookout, which was the same cause and the chain of causes was not interrupted. Therefore, the two torts should be determined as one accident. After leaving the aquaculture area operated by Liu Haizhong, the vessel invovled sailed into open waters. After about half an hour's sailing of about 9,000 meters, the vessel involved entered the aquaculture areas operated by Li Weiguo and other persons, causing a damage accident again. Before entering the aquaculture areas operated by Li Weiguo and other persons, the seamen had more time to adjust the psychological states of negligent sailing and under the circumstance where they foreknew that there were aquaculture areas ahead, they should strengthen the performance of obligation of keeping a lookout to avoid causing damage again. It was obvious that the vessel invovled failed to perform the obligation of prudent sailing, causing the occurrence of the second damage accident. There was no relevance between these two accidents in terms of time and subjective state, the occurrence of the second accident was not the natural continuation of the first accident, and there was no causal relationship between these two accidents. The grounds of Astk Company that the seamen's psychological states for erroneously sailing into the aquaculture areas did not change in the whole course of accidents and the chain of causes were not interrupted were untenable. Although the two accidents were caused by the “cause of the same nature,” namely, seamen's negligent sailing, these two accidents were not arising from the “same cause.” According to the principle of “one quota for one accident,” the vessel invovled should separately establish different liability limitation funds for these two accidents. The courts of first instance and second instance failed to comprehensively investigate the locations of the aquaculture areas, the causal relationship of two accidents, and the psychological states of the parties. Their determination that the vessel invovled only caused one accident, allowing the vessel invovled to establish one fund of limitation of liability for maritime claims was erroneous and should be corrected according to the law. 最高人民法院认为,海商法二百一十二条确立海事赔偿责任限制实行事故原则,即“一次事故,一个限额,多次事故,多个限额”。判断一次还是多次事故的关键是分析两次事故之间是否因同一原因所致。如果因同一原因发生多个事故,但原因链没有中断,则应认定为一个事故。如果原因链中断,有新的原因介入,则新的原因与新的事故构成新的因果关系,形成新的独立事故。就本案而言,涉案“艾侬”轮所使用的英版海图明确标注了养殖区范围,但船员却将航线设定到养殖区,本身存在重大过错。涉案船舶在预知所经临的海域可能存在大面积养殖区的情形下,应加强瞭望义务,保证航行安全,避免冲撞养殖区造成损失。根据涉案船舶航行轨迹,涉案船舶实际驶入了郭金武经营的养殖区。鉴于损害事故发生于中午时分,并无夜间的视觉障碍,如船员谨慎履行瞭望和驾驶义务,应能注意到海面上悬挂养殖物浮球的存在。在昌黎县海洋局出具证据证明郭金武遭受实际损害的情形下,可以推定船员未履行谨慎瞭望义务,导致第一次侵权行为发生。依据航行轨迹,船舶随后进入刘海忠的养殖区,由于郭金武与刘海忠的养殖区毗邻,相距约500米,基于船舶运动的惯性及船舶驾驶规律,涉案船舶在当时情形下无法采取合理措施避让刘海忠的养殖区,致使第二次侵权行为发生。从原因上分析,两次损害行为均因船舶驶入郭金武养殖区之前,船员疏于瞭望的过失所致,属同一原因,且原因链并未中断,故应将两次侵权行为认定为一次事故。船舶驶离刘海忠的养殖区进入开阔海域,航行约9000米,时长约半小时后进入李卫国等人的养殖区再次造成损害事故。在进入李卫国等人的养殖区之前,船员应有较为充裕的时间调整驾驶疏忽的心理状态,且在预知航行前方还有养殖区存在的情形下,更应加强瞭望义务,避免再次造成损害。涉案船舶显然未尽到谨慎驾驶的义务,致使第二次损害事故的发生。两次事故之间无论从时间关系还是从主观状态均无关联性,第二次事故的发生并非第一次事故自然延续所致,两次事故之间并无因果关系。阿斯特克有限公司主张在整个事故发生过程中船员错误驶入的心理状态没有变化,原因链没有中断的理由不能成立。虽然两次事故的发生均因“同一性质的原因”,即船员疏忽驾驶所致,但并非基于“同一原因”,引起两次事故。依据“一次事故,一次限额”的原则,涉案船舶应分别针对两次事故设立不同的责任限制基金。一、二审法院未能全面考察养殖区的位置、两次事故之间的因果关系及当事人的主观状态,作出涉案船舶仅造成一次事故,允许涉案船舶设立一个基金的认定错误,依法应予纠正。
(Judges of the effective judgment: Wang Shumei, Fu Xiaoqiang, and Huang Xiwu) (生效裁判审判人员:王淑梅、傅晓强、黄西武)
     
     
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