This chapter proposes an understanding and theoretical framework for the research and study of international maritime law. This body of law has ancient origins and aims at universality and uniformity in regulation because shipping is global and transnational. The framework is set out in two interacting layers. First, there is an explanation of the nature of maritime regulation, definition, rationale, functions, instruments and regulatory bodies. Second, the principles of maritime regulation, regulatory process, rule-making strategies and regulatory compliance are set out and analysed. The focus is on the International Maritime Organization as the most important regulator and its complex regulatory regimes. The chapter provides insights into the structure and process of maritime regulation and offers an assessment of factors that facilitate or constrain universality and uniformity in this regulatory field.
In focus in this chapter is the 2015 Advisory Opinion on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing rendered by the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) concerning obligations of flag states in the exclusive economic zone. Professor Chircop explains the significance of the issues considered by ITLOS in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as with reference to international maritime, environmental and fisheries law. He discusses the ITLOS understanding of the responsibilities and liability of flag states in response to the questions posed to it, and reflects on the significance of the Advisory Opinion and the extent to which it has changed the understanding of the due diligence duties of flag states today. He concludes with observations on the potential effects of the Advisory Opinion on maintaining UNCLOS as a living constitution.
Kristin Bartenstein and Aldo Chircop
This Chapter examines the current state of shipping law as applicable to the Polar oceans. It starts by providing an overview of the international law of polar shipping, that is, the general legal and institutional frameworks and the specific initiatives and regimes developed for Polar shipping within the International Maritime Organization. Its perspective then shifts to the regional and subregional level where specific Arctic and Antarctic realities have given rise to distinct institutional and legal developments. In a last part, it will shed light on the domestic Arctic coastal state regimes established by Norway, Russia and Canada, as well as on the remaining Arctic coastal states’ legal strategies. The Chapter will conclude with a critical assessment of the current state of Polar shipping law, with respect to both the adequacy and the coherence of these various legal regimes and initiatives.