University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Maritime Law for Engineers

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Commercial Law

DESCRIPTION The historical development of Maritime Shipping Law is introduced, whilst expanding and focusing on the local and international law perspective and the IMOs contribution towards safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

The study of the Law of the Sea (Introduction to Maritime Zones) considers internal waters and territorial seas, continuous zone, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf, high seas and international seabed area law.

Registration of vessels in accordance to The Merchant Shipping Act, Ch234, Part II the Registry's role and the practical implementation. Local and international registration, sale & purchase, security for debts, mortgages and privileges.

The Regulator and its role as a Port State Control (PSC) for compliance with the requirements of the international conventions, The Merchant Ship The Shipping Act, Ch234, Part IIA & III considering shipping companies and other organisations. The implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, (MLC) Flag State Inspections under MLC, International Labour Conference, amendments of 2014 are delivered.

Salvage within the maritime law concept when another contributes to preserving at sea any vessel, cargo, freight, or other recognized subject of salvage from danger after peril or loss at sea, is interpreted through The Law of Salvage, The Merchant Shipping Act, Ch352, Part VIII and the International Convention on Salvage, 1989.

Liability and Claims in accordance to The Merchant Shipping Act, Ch 352, Part IX, the jurisdictions of claims and liability of claims in accidents.

The understanding of towage and pilotage and the laws regulating the subject, the obligations of the tug and tow, the organisation, duties and functions of the pilot and the need for pilotage within the compulsory pilotage areas is delivered.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit focuses upon introducing the international maritime law perspective, a key aim is that participants will be able to interpret the salient points within the law through knowledge and experience gained into practical actions to enhance their performance and activities within their role in their office.

Registration of a vessel in a country is bound governed by the law of the relevant flag state. Therefore, understanding the concept of nationality of ships and how the doctrine of the freedom of the seas developed with practical examples is discussed.

Directly tied to registration of ships, are the concepts surrounding ownership of ships as movable assets, different forms of title, and how title is acquired as well as financed. The particular status to ships in the law of asset finance is also crucial, and thus obtaining insight as to how ships can be put up as security for the fulfillment of obligations, and related special remedies.

The topics on salvage, liabilities and claims is to introduce the engineers to certain aspects of Maritime law which would be encountered by the engineer if s/he were to be onboard a vessel either during a salvage operation, or otherwise engaged in any such action anywhere in the world. It is not infrequent for engineers to have to give evidence or to testify in situations involving Salvage operations and it is therefore important for such persons to be informed about the subject of Salvage, to be in a position that such persons are informed on the basics of what regulates shipping in Malta and how claims against vessels generally come about and are dealt with.

The towage and pilotage aspects are discussed, namely describing pilotage as a service, the legal obligations of the pilot vis-a- vis the obligations of the members of command of the vessel, the pilot as an advisor to the Master, the fine line between pilotage and salvage, the obligations, responsibilities, terms and conditions of the tug and tow and how towage claims evolve.

Learning Outcomes:

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

- interpret the salient points within maritime law and law of the sea;
- describe the main international maritime conventions and domestic statutory or legislative sources of maritime law and law of the sea;
- identify crucial legal concepts that have been developed in the context of international maritime law;
- recognise the reasons for registration;
- describe the procedure of registration;
- discuss and summarise the structure of the shipping industry;
- identify how maritime law is generated and recognise how the law can be influenced;
- identify and describe the role and operation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO);
- demonstrate a broad knowledge base of the basic principles of Salvage, both in its traditional form as well as the development of commercial salvage through commercial contracts as well as Salvage as regulated by International convention;
- recognise the motivations and reasons why different registration systems have evolved, both as a matter of public law and as private law;
- explain the procedure for registration of ships;
- discuss the law and practice surrounding sale and purchase of ships;
- identify and discuss the particular legal concepts in ship finance that have developed and how Maltese law has drawn influences from different legal systems;
- recognise and summarise the legal requirements, the legal professionals' role or persons appointed to carry out enquirers regarding towage and pilotage;
- appreciate the role of the pilot as an advisor to the master;
- identify the responsibilities and obligations of the tug and tow.

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

- demonstrate knowledge of maritime law and law of the sea by application into practical actions to enhance their performance and activities within the working environment;
- explain the function of the complex web of the maritime service industry;
- distinguish and interpret the interaction between the various maritime partners;
- apply registration procedures in accordance to law;
- classify the roles of the IMO and ILO;
- explain and infer the difference between assistance which can be remunerated by commercial rates and a full blown salvage operation;
- assess the complexities of the subject and what it takes for a salvage operator to obtain a salvage award;
- judge what is required in order to resolve numerous shipping issues regulated by The Merchant Shipping Act;
- prepare and explain what is required in the context of a claim before different courts;
- demonstrate familiarisation of the law in terms of towage and pilotage;
- assess the responsibilities of tug and tow;
- explain the evolution of a towage claim.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text:

- The IMLI Manual on International Maritime Law, (3 Volumes), David Attard et als. (Eds.), Oxford University Press (24 Mar. 2016), ISBN-13: 978-0199683925 (Vol I: The Law of the Sea), ISBN-13: 978-0199683932 (Vol II: Shipping Law), ISBN-13: 978-0199683949 (Vol III: Marine Envirnomental Law and Maritime Security Law)
- The Merchant Shipping Act, Ch 234,
- Procedures for Port State Control, 2012 Edition, International Maritime Organization Publications, (2012), IB650E, ISBN-13: 978-9280115505
- Shipping Law, Simon Baughen, Routledge, 6th Edition (March 5, 2015)ISBN-13: 978-0415712194
- A Handy Book for Ship Owners and Masters, M. R. Holman, West of England P&I Club London, (1964), ASIN: B00ZD25Z1E
- Chorley & Giles’ Shipping Law, N.J.J. Gaskell, C. Debattista, R.J. Swatton, Financial Times/ Prentice Hall, 8th Edition, (28 Aug. 1987), ISBN-13: 978-0273021940

Supplementary Reading:

- The International Law of the Sea, DR Rothwell & T Stephen, Hart Publishing; 2nd Revised Edition (25 Feb. 2016), ISBN-13: 978-1782256847
- Modern Maritime Law, Aleka Mandaraka-Sheppard, Routledge-Cavendish; 2nd Edition (7 Nov 2007), ISBN-13: 978-1859418956
- Standard Conditions for Towage and Other Services -

Online Reading:

- Internatinal Maritime Organisation, IMO -
- International Labour Office, ILO -
- Transport Malta, TM -
- International Association of Classification Societies, IACS -
- Nautical Institute -
- International Chamber of Shipping, ICS -
- International Transport Workers' Federation, ITF -
- Tug Malta -

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Ind Study & Ind Online Learning

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (3 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Norman Martinez
Elda Belja
Peter Buhagiar
Mark Chapelle
Ann Fenech (Co-ord.)
Anthony T. Fenech
George Said
Ivan Tabone

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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