The law, theÂ Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, has been used routinely by ship operators, including the owner of the Titanic. In recent years, it has been invoked by the owners in the Deep Water Horizon oil rig disaster, the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship in 2015 and duck boat deaths such asÂ the 2018 sinking in MissouriÂ that killed 17 .
Rose called it a â€œdistasteful old lawâ€ that traces to the days when the shipping industry could not obtain insurance. Now, it is those insurers â€” not the boat owner or operator â€” who push for such a strategy, since they may bankroll the defense.
California dive boat owner quickly asks judge to limit payouts to victims’ families