Maritime law is a distinct body of law that governs maritime questions and offenses. It is a body of both domestic lawn governing maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private entities that operate vessels on the oceans. Maritime law is a body of laws, conventions and treaties that governs international private business or other matters involving ships, shipping or crimes occurring on open water. Laws between nations governing such things as national versus international waters are considered public international law and are known as the Law of the Seas. Maritime law is also known as "admiralty law."
In most developed nations, maritime law is governed by a separate code and is a separate jurisdiction from national laws. The United Nations, 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 the registration, license, and inspection procedures for ships and shipping contracts, maritime insurance and the carriage of goods and passengers.
The IMO was created in 1958 and is responsible for ensuring that existing international maritime conventions are kept up to date as well as develop new conventions as and when the need arises. Today, there are dozens of conventions regulating all aspects of maritime commerce and transport.
The IMO identifies three of these as its key conventions. They are:
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 Watch-keeping for Seafarers
The governments of the of IMO's 171 member states are responsible for the enforcement of IMO conventions for ships of their nationality. Local governments enforce the provisions of IMO conventions as far as their own ships are concerned and set the penalties for infringements. In some cases, ships must carry certificates on board the ship to show that they have been inspected and have met the required standards.
We deal with a wide range of maritime law matters within India and overseas, including charter party disputes, cargo damage, hull and machinery, product liability, and personal injury, as well as commercial litigation; criminal defense; environmental compliance; ship sale and purchase; shipbuilding, repair, conversion, and construction matters including for defending ship owners, operators, managers, charterers, and crew members.