Admiralty law(also known as maritime law) is a well defined body of law which controls maritime questions & crimes. It is a body of both domestic law controlling maritime activities, & private international law controlling the relationships between private system which run vessels on the oceans. It concerns matters covering marine commerce, marine salvaging, marine navigation, shipping, sailors, & the transportation of passengers & goods by the sea. Admiralty law also includes many commercial activities, although land based or happening wholly on land, that are maritime in character.

General working knowledge of the applicable IMO conventions regarding safety of life at sea, security & protection of the marine environment –

Introduction to Maritime Law

Maritime law is based partly on the normally adopted customary rules formed over many years & partly on statute law approved by the states

  • States that matters of safety, protection of the marine environment & the conditions of employment are included in statute law
  • States that the primary sources of the maritime law are international conventions
  • States that the acceptance of the international conventions & treaties is planned to provide uniform practice internationally
  • States that the convention is a agreement between the States which have adopted to be bound by it to apply the principles included in the convention within their area of the jurisdiction
  • States that, to execute a convention or other international agreement, a State should ratify national legislation giving effect to & imposing its provisions
  • States that instructions which are not internationally mandatory may be applied by the State for ships flying its flag

Lists the main originators of international conventions associated with the maritime law are:

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • International Labour Organization (lLO)
  • Committee Maritime International (CMI)
  • United Nations (UN)


  1. flag State jurisdiction
  2. coastal State jurisdiction
  3. port State jurisdiction
  • Describes primary elements of applicable IMO Conventions, e.g. SOLAS, MARPOL & STCW
  • Describe the importance of the ‘no more favourable treatment’ clause in the SOLAS, MARPOL, STCW & ILO Minimum Standards in the Merchant Ships Conventions.
  • Differentiates between private & public international law
  • Explains that public maritime law is imposed through:
  1. surveys, inspection & certification
  2. penal sanctions(fines, imprisonment)
  3. administrative procedures (inspection of certificates and records, detention)
  • States that the Working of the ship is controlled by the national laws & regulations of the flag State, covering those laws & regulations giving effect to international conventions
  • States that differences of detail generally exist in the national laws of different states applying the same convention
  • States that, when working in the ship flying a foreign flag, it is important that the master, chief mate & chief engineer acquaint themselves with the laws & regulations of the flag State
  • States that, when in port, a ship should also follow the the appropriate laws & regulations of the port State
  • Explains the significance of keeping up to date with developments in new & amended legislation