University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Admiralty Jurisdiction and Salvage, Towage, Pilotage and Collision

LEVEL 04 - Years 4, 5 in Modular UG or PG Cert Course


DEPARTMENT Commercial Law


This part of the study-unit deals primarily with the practice and procedure of admiralty proceedings under Maltese Law, while constantly referring to Maltese case-law. The study-unit examines the historical context of admiralty jurisdiction in Maltese law actions in personam and actions in rem, the heads of jurisdiction of admiralty proceedings, the arrest of a vessel the notion of arbitration clauses, and the procedure of sale of a vessel. During the study-unit possible reforms to the Maltese admiralty law are discussed.

Part B:

The following subjects and issues shall be covered in detail:

- The elements of the traditional notion of salvage
- The 'no cure no pay' principle
- LOF 80 and the safety net principle
- The notion of Special Compensation, LOF 90 and the 1989 Salvage Convention
- The Nagasaki Spirit and the development of LOF 2000 and the SCOPIC Clause
- Environmental Salvage

- The distinction between towage and salvage
- The relationship between tug and tow
- The respective obligations of the tug and tow
- The UK Standard Conditions for Towage and Other Services (Revised 1986)
- The relevant provisions of the Malta Maritime Authority Act dealing with the subject in particular the notion of Compulsory Pilotage
- Other contracts for towage services

- Meaning of pilotage, its history and development of pilotage and the law regulating the subject, and the creation of the Malta Pilots Co operative
- The need for pilotage and the services offered by the pilot
- Compulsory Pilotage Areas
- The duties and functions of the pilot as arising from the Maritime Pilotage Regulations 2003
- The manner in which pilots are organised
- Qualifications and licencing of pilots and their disciplinary set up

- The subject matter of collisions, the basis of collisions, requirements to establish liability for negligence
- The Collision Regulations 1983 Act and its content
- Limitation of Liability of the shipowner
- Safety obligations and duties of assistance at sea
- Defences that may be raised by the parties in a collision scenario and the element of contributory negligence
- The Lisbon Rules 1987 and the calculation of damages

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to introduce students to the mechanism, for the arrest of vessels and other actions against vessels arising from Admiralty Jurisdiction. The unit enables students to acquire additional skills relating to Shipping Law which would be useful for the students' future career of Legal Practitioner in an area of great Importance to the Maltese Economy.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Understand clearly how Admiralty Proceedings work at Law as well as in practice and be able to grasp how court actions against vessels are carried out and difficulties that surround such actions in an area of Law which is constantly developing.

- Demonstrate an understanding of the traditional notion of salvage and the constituent elements which distinguish it from other forms of services;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the relevant international and local legislation on salvage and the evolution of standard form contracts as a result of industry pressures and significant casualties;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the manner in which environmental concerns have led to the development of the notion of environmental salvage.

- Distinguish between salvage and a towage operation, including the UK Standard Conditions for Towage and Other Services (Revised 1986) and the relevant provisions of our law regulating the subject.

- Demonstrate an understanding of the history of pilotage in Malta and the development of the Maritime Pilotage Regulations 2003, the function and role of the pilot, the need for pilotage and compulsory pilotage areas.

- Demonstrate an understanding of the subject matter of collision;
- Know about the Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions Regulations 1983 and general safety procedures such as the duty to assist other vessels in case of collisions;
- Know about the defences that may be raised in case of casualties involving a collision and the calculation of damages.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Have the required technical skills to implement the various important rules that regulate this area of Shipping and Maritime activity.
- Work in legal firms or public authorities involved in Maritime matters and to advise local and international clients thereon.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Relevant Section of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Students taking this study-unit need to have a background in law.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Louis Cassar Pullicino
Mario De Marco
Ann Fenech (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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