What Is Maritime Law?
Maritime law, also known as admiralty law, is a body of laws, conventions, and treaties that govern private maritime business and other nautical matters, such as shipping or offenses occurring on open water. International rules, governing the use of the oceans and seas, are known as the Law of the Sea.
In most developed nations, maritime law follows a separate code and is an independent jurisdiction from national laws. The United Nations (UN), through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has issued numerous conventions that can be enforced by the navies and coast guards of countries that have signed the treaty outlining these rules. Maritime law governs many of the insurance claims relating to ships and cargo; civil matters between shipowners, seamen, and passengers; and piracy.
Additionally, maritime law regulates registration, license, and inspection procedures for ships and shipping contracts; maritime insurance; and the carriage of goods and passengers. The IMO (established in 1948 as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, and coming into force in 1958) is responsible for ensuring that existing international maritime conventions are kept up to date, as well as developing new agreements as and when the need arises.
Today, there are dozens of conventions regulating all aspects of maritime commerce and transport. The IMO names three conventions as its core:The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers