Research Publications

The IMLI Manual on International Maritime Law

 General Editor Prof. David Joseph Attard

This three-volume Manual on International Maritime Law presents a systematic analysis of the history and contemporary development of international maritime law by leading contributors from across the world. Prepared in cooperation with the International Maritime Law Institute, the International Maritime Organization's research and training institute, this is a uniquely comprehensive study of this fundamental area of international law.

Volume I: The Law of the Sea addresses the major issues which arise in the law of the sea. It provides a detailed understanding of the historical development of the law of the sea; the role of the International Maritime Organization; the law surrounding maritime zones; the legal regime of islands; the international sea-bed area; the legal regime governing marine scientific research; the rights and obligations of land-locked and geographically disadvantaged states; the legal regime of Arctic and Antarctic; and the settlements of disputes. This volume also considers the ways in which human rights and the law of the sea interact.

Volume II: Shipping Law published in October 2014 addresses the major issues which arise in the law of the sea. It provides a detailed understanding of the historical development of shipping law looking at concepts, sources, and international organisations relating to shipping law; nationality, registration and ownership of ships; ship sale and shipping contracts; ship management and ship finance; arrest of ships; international trade and shipping documents; carriage of goods, passengers and their luggage by sea; maritime labour law; law of maritime safety; law of marine collisions; law of salvage; law of wrecks; law of general average; law of towage; law of harbours and pilotage; limitation of liability for maritime claims; and law of marine insurance.

Volume III: Marine Environmental Law and Maritime Security Law is devoted to the marine environmental law and maritime security law. The first part of Volume III deals in depth with issues of most fundamental importance in the contemporary world, namely how to protect the marine environment from pollution from ships, land-based sources, seabed activities, and from or through air. In explaining these types of pollution, various conventions concluded under the auspices of the IMO (such as MARPOL 73/78 and the 1972 London Convention) and soft law documents are analysed. The volume also includes chapters on the conventions relating to pollution incident preparedness, response, cooperation, and the relevance of regional cooperation. It additionally discusses liability and compensation for pollution damage.

The second part of volume III examines an issue of increasing importance in a world threatened by terrorism, piracy, and drug-trafficking. Chapters in this part cover the topics of piracy; stowaways; human trafficking; illicit drugs; terrorism; military uses of the sea; and new maritime security threats, such as the illegal dumping of hazardous wastes and toxic substances, as well as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

The IMLI Treaties On Global Ocean Governance

General Academic Coordinator and Editor Prof. David Joseph Attard

 The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) remains the cornerstone of global ocean governance. However, it lacks effective provisions or mechanisms to ensure that all ocean space and related problems are dealt with holistically. With seemingly no opportunity for revision due to the Conventions burdensome amendment provisions, complementary mechanisms dealing with such aspects of global ocean governance including maritime transport, fisheries, and marine environmental sustainability, have been developed under the aegis of the United Nations and other relevant international organizations. This approach is inherently fragmented and unable to achieve sustainable global ocean governance. In light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 14, the IMLI Treatise proposes a new paradigm on the basis of integrated and cross-sectoral approach in order to realize a more effective and sustainable governance regime for the oceans.

Volume I: UN and Global Ocean Governance focuses on the role of UN as the central intergovernmental organization responsible for global ocean governance. It examines the ocean governance challenges and how the present legal, policy, and institutional frameworks of the UN have addressed these challenges. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses of UN legal structures and offers tangible proposals to realize the ambition of a global ocean governance system.

Volume II: UN Specialized Agencies and Global Ocean Governance focuses on the role of the UN Specialized Agencies towards the development of effective and sustainable ocean governance by looking at the more elaborate mechanisms they developed in order to achieve the desired objectives laid down in UNCLOS. From FAO to UNODC, the volume examines how they ensure sustainable development and how much coordination exists among them.

Volume III: The IMO and Global Ocean Governance examines how the IMO, with 171 Member States and 3 Associated Members, has and continues to promote the goals of safe, secure, sound, and efficient shipping on clean oceans. It studies the interface and interaction between UNCLOS and IMO instruments and how IMO's safety, security, and environmental protection conventions have contributed to global ocean governance, including the peaceful order of the polar regions.

Serving the Rule of International Law: Essays in Honour of Professor David Joseph Attard

Edited by Prof. Norman A. Martinez Gutierrez

 Serving the Rule of International Law is a collection of essays to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Professor David Attard’s academic career. Professor Attard, one of Malta’s most eminent international lawyers, has played a crucial role in the development of international law, particularly in the areas of international maritime law and climate change.

This Liber Amicorum is the result of a fruitful cooperation amongst statesmen, distinguished politicians, practitioners and academics involved in the field of international law.

It includes contributions by the Hon. Lawrence Gonzi (Prime Minister of Malta), Prof. Guido DeMarco (President Emeritus, Republic of Malta / Former President of the United Nations General Assembly), Dr. Ugo Mifsud Bonnici (President Emeritus, Republic of Malta), Ambassador Lino Vassallo (Permanent Representative of Malta to the International Maritime Organization), Ambassador Saviour F. Borg (Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations), Ambassador Gunter Weiss (Former EU Ambassador), Judge Giovanni Bonello (Judge of the European Court of Human Rights), Dr. Michael Bartolo (Former Ambassador to the United Nations and the Specialized Agencies in Geneva and Vienna and the World Trade Organization), Mr. Ranier Fsadni (Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malta on Mediterranean and Maritime Affairs), Prof. Juanito Camilleri (Rector, University of Malta), Prof. Giuseppe Cataldi (Professor of International Law / Pro-Rector, University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’), Prof. Tullio Scovazzi (Professor of International Law, University of Milano, Bicocca, Milan), Prof. Stephen Calleya (Director, Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, University of Malta), Prof. Mary Durfee (Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University), Prof. Dietrich Kappeler (Former Founding Director and Chairman of the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies / Former President of DiploFoundation), Prof. Salvino Busuttil (Former Ambassador to France and Portugal / Former UN Director), Prof. Kevin Aquilina (Associate Professor and Head, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Laws, University of Malta), Dr. Omar Grech (Co-ordinator of Human Dimension Programme and Lecturer in International Law, Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies), Dr. Simone Borg (Lecturer Department of International Law, University of Malta / Visiting Lecturer, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium / Consultant in Environmental Law), and Dr. Raymond Mangion (Member of the Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Malta).

Serving the Rule of International Law is available in major bookshops.

For orders and trade enquiries contact

Serving the Rule of International Maritime Law:

Essays in Honour of Professor David Joseph Attard

Edited by Prof. Norman A. Martinez Gutierrez

International maritime law is far from inert, everyday international affairs constantly test existing law and, in many occasions, require its development. Serving the Rule of International Maritime Law is thus not limited to a description of the current state of the law, but contains innovative studies on current issues and events that are testing the present state of international maritime law.

The book is intended as a Liber Amicorum to Professor David Joseph Attard. It celebrates his career in international law; he played a crucial role in establishing the IMO International Maritime Law Institute in 1988, the main purpose of which is to train lawyers in private and public international maritime law. Over the last twenty years he has continued to teach at the Institute and has played an important role in contributing to the work of international fora concerned with the development of international law.

This work represents a close collaboration amongst practitioners and academics involved in the field of international maritime law including IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, Judge Helmut Tuerk, Professor Francis Reynolds Q.C. and Patrick J.S. Griggs CBE.

Serving the Rule of International Maritime Law is of great interest to professionals in the shipping industry as well as practitioners, academics and students.


The Exclusive Economic Zone

in International Law 

by Professor David J. Attard

Since the end of World War II, the concept of an exclusive economic zone has developed from the desire of a growing number of states to extend their authority over vast maritime areas, primarily for the purpose of controlling resources.

This book is a study of the exclusive economic zone, its development, scope and effect, and its relationship with other aspects of the law of the sea.

The author also looks at the process through which the EEC entered the realm of customary international law and the role of the United Nations in that process. The book should be of interest to academic lawyers, legal practitioners and legal civil servants concerned with the law of the sea.

In 1987 in Geneva, this publication was awarded the Paul Guggenheim Prize for International Law.


Limitation Of Liability In International Maritime Conventions: The Relationship Between Global Limitation Conventions And Particular Liability Regimes.

By Professor Norman A. Martinez Gutierrez

Limitation of liability for maritime claims is a concept of respectable antiquity which is now deeply entrenched in the maritime industry. Under this concept, the shipowner is entitled to limit his liability for maritime claims up to a maximum sum regardless of the actual amount of the claims. The concept of limitation of liability has been adopted by many conventions ranging from those relating to the carriage of goods by sea, carriage of passengers and their luggage by sea, liability and compensation for pollution damage, to liability for the removal of wrecks. Each of these conventions has its own approach to limitation of liability. However, these particular liability regimes share the international arena with global limitation conventions such as the 1976 Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims and the 1996 Protocol thereto.

This book approaches limitation of liability from an international perspective looking at a number of key conventions including the global limitation conventions, the conventions relating to the carriage of passengers and their luggage by sea (1974 Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and Their Luggage by Sea and the 2002 Protocol thereto), conventions relating to liability and compensation for pollution damage (1969 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage and the 1992 Protocol thereto, the 1996 International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea and the 2010 Protocol thereto, and the 2001 International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage), as well as the 2007 Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks.

Each chapter of this book sets out to analyze provisions in the conventions which have proved to be controversial and subject to debate by courts and authors, as well as the relationship between the limitation provisions in claim specific liability conventions and in the global limitation conventions. Particular attention is also given to the persons entitled to limit liability, ships in respect of which liability can be limited, claims subject to limitation, claims excepted from limitation, basis of liability (where applicable), loss of the right to limit, and the limits of liability.

Limitation of Liability in International Maritime Conventions is of interest to academics and practicing lawyers who wish to understand the intricacies of the law of limitation.

Conservation on the High Seas. Harmonizing International Regimes for the Sustainable Use of Living Resources

By Professor Simone Borg

This timely book discusses various international norms that qualify the right, which all states have, to access and exploit living resources in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, in order to promote the conservation of such species.

It highlights current trends and developments which aim at better coherence, and discusses legal techniques that could serve to harmonize both the objectives of these international norms and their scope of applicability. The author also demonstrates that in some cases, gaps and conflicts in the existing legal framework cannot be simply ‘interpreted away’ but require the further development of International law in order to be resolved.

Extension of Coastal State Jurisdiction in Enclosed and Semi-enclosed Seas: A Mediterranean and Adriatic Perspective

By Dr. Mitja Grbec

The current jurisdictional status of the Mediterranean Sea is remarkable. Nearly 50 per cent of the Mediterranean waters are high seas and therefore beyond the jurisdiction of coastal States. This situation means that there are no points in the Mediterranean Sea where the coasts of two States would be more than 400 nautical miles apart. Such a legal situation generally prevents coastal States from adopting and enforcing their laws on the Mediterranean high seas, in respect of many important fields such as the protection and preservation of the marine environment, as well as the conservation of marine living resources.

The jurisdictional landscape of the Adriatic Sea as a sub-sea and sub-region of the Mediterranean, is even more interesting. Croatia has proclaimed an Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone, Slovenia has proclaimed a Zone of Ecological Protection, while Italy has adopted a framework law for the proclamation of its Zone of Ecological Protection without proclaiming its regime in the Adriatic. It is noteworthy that if all Mediterranean and Adriatic States would proclaim an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), there would not be a single stretch of high seas left in the entire Mediterranean Sea. Both the Adriatic and Mediterranean fall in the category of enclosed or semi-enclosed seas regulated by Part IX of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

This book assesses the legal nature of Part IX of UNCLOS and discusses potential benefits of the extension of coastal State jurisdiction (proclamation of EEZs and/or similar sui generis zones), particularly in light of the recent calls towards an integrated and holistic approach to the management of different activities in the Mediterranean Sea. It examines the actual or potential extension of coastal State jurisdiction in the Adriatic Sea, against the background of similar extensions elsewhere in the Mediterranean and against the background of relevant EU policies. It additionally explores whether Part IX of UNCLOS imposes any duties of cooperation in relation to the extension of coastal State jurisdiction in enclosed or semi-enclosed seas, and puts forward practical suggestions as to how the issue of extension of coastal State jurisdiction could be approached in a way which would enhance States existing cooperation and improve the overall governance in the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas.

This book will be of interest to policymakers and academics and students of international law, and the law of the sea.


Migrant Smuggling by Sea

Combating a Current Threat to Maritime Security through the Creation of a Cooperative Framework

By Professor Patricia Mallia

A number of rules of the international law governing the oceans were created at a time far removed from the challenges of the present day. The principle of the freedom of the high seas and its corollary of flag State exclusivity are archetypical examples of this.

Today these rules may appear to be obstacles in the effort to combat a number of contemporary maritime threats such as migrant smuggling by sea.

This study examines this multi-faceted threat to maritime security against the backdrop of the current international legal framework and State practice in order to establish whether this threat can be effectively addressed within the existing framework of the law of the sea.

IMLI Studies in International Maritime Law

European Sustainable Carriage of Goods: The Role of Contract Law

By Ms. Ellen Eftestol-Wilhelmsson

This work discusses the rapidly developing European transport policy on sustainable freight and the connected efforts initiated by the European Commission (EC) on greening transport by the means of contract law.

Greening transport has been a central goal for the EU for decades. The main problem has been, and still is, that far too much carriage of goods within the EU is performed unimodally: by road carriage alone. This has caused severe problems particularly in central Europe, where both trade and environment is suffering from an ineffective transport industry with growing problems of congestion and pollution. A modal shift in transport from mainly road based to a form of transport in which more environmental friendly modes such as rail, inland waterways and sea born transport are integrated into one transport chain, is hence an objective of the EU. If successful, this model could then be extended to the international transport community.

The key question raised in this book is whether the traditional role of contract law is changing to such an extent that the parties involved must take external interests into account. In the case of the EU’s efforts to enhance sustainable carriage of goods within its realm, the author explores whether governmental interference is necessary, or if we can trust that the parties will integrate environmental issues into their contracts because there is a demand for such clauses. The different proposals for an EU regime on multimodal contracts of carriage are discussed in this context.

This book will be of great relevance to academics and practitioners with an interest in EU law, transport law, environmental law and maritime law in general.

Shipbreaking in Developing Countries
A Requiem for Environmental Justice from the Perspective of Bangladesh

By Mr. Md. Saiful Karim

This book explores the process of shipbreaking in developing countries, with a particular focus on Bangladesh.

In the past, shipbreaking (the disposal of obsolete ships) was a very common industrial activity in many developed countries. However, due to stringent domestic environmental and labour laws it is almost impossible for the increasing number of vessels to be disposed of domestically, and now developing nations including Bangladesh, China, India, Turkey and Pakistan regularly participate in this activity. The shipbreaking yards in these countries are not only detrimental to the marine and coastal environment but also represent significant health hazards to local people and workers. Given the global importance of the issue, an effective legal and institutional framework for a sustainable operation of the shipbreaking industry is desperately needed.

Sitting at the intersection of three distinct fields – environmental justice, international environmental law and international maritime law – this book offers an innovative take on the issues surrounding the shipbreaking process. Drawing on the case study of Bangladesh due to its prominence in the shipbreaking industry, the author implements an environmental justice framework to examine the issues of sustainability surrounding shipbreaking, and analyses the relationship between social development, economic development and environmental protection. Maritime perspectives of environmental justice will also be highlighted through a discussion of the International Maritime Organization’s role in the implementation of the Hong Kong Convention in developing countries.

This book will be of great interest to scholars of environmental justice, international maritime law and international environmental law.

Transport Law on Passenger Rights

By Prof. Dr. Marko Pavliha

Europe and also the rest of the world has experienced a boom in mobility over the last thirty years. In light of the protection of increasing number of consumers – passengers it is almost logical that during the past few decades, international and European transport law has developed almost to revolutionary extent, especially in the field of private aviation (air) law with the introduction of unlimited liability of carriers for death and injury of passengers and commendable sophisticated rights in case of denied boarding, cancellation of flights and long delays.

This book will cast light through a critical prism on the most important characteristics of the international transport law, the EU legislation and jurisprudence regarding passenger rights during the carriage by air, sea, rail and road. One of the ideas which, however, needs further research is that the commendable legal solutions and experience of the EU can serve as an excellent framework for a new holistic international convention on passengers rights in all transport modes.

Autonomous Ships and The Law

By Henrik Ringbom, Erik Rosaeg and Trond Solvang

Interest in autonomous ships has grown exponentially over the past few years. Whereas a few years ago, the prospect of unmanned and autonomous vessels sailing on the seas was considered unrealistic, the debate now centers on when and in what format and pace the development will take place. 

Law has a key role to play in this development and legal obstacles are often singled out as principal barriers to the rapid introduction of new technologies in shipping. Within a few years, autonomous ships have turned from a non-issue to one of the main regulatory topics being addressed by the International Maritime Organization. However, the regulatory discussion is still in its infancy, and while many new questions have been raised, few answers have been provided to them to date. 

Increased automation of tasks that have traditionally been undertaken by ships' crews raises interesting legal questions across the whole spectrum of maritime law. The first of its kind, this book explores the issue of autonomous ships from a wide range of legal perspectives, including both private law and public law at international and national level, making available cutting-edge research which will be of significant interest to researchers in maritime law.