Maritime Law Definition


What is maritime law?

Maritime law (also known as admiralty law) is a set of rules, conventions, and treaties governing various aspects of commercial enterprise at sea.

Maritime law refers to the domestic laws of separate nations as well a as growing body of international laws on maritime concerns.



What Specific Issues Does Maritime Law Address?

The issues addressed by maritime law are varied and complex.

Examples include shipping, towage, rules of salvage, maritime liens and mortgages, contracts, and worker’s compensation claims, insurance, and cargo claims.Maritime Law Defined

Image Source: Maritime Law Defined​

Many activities on land are also governed by maritime law if they are directly related to activities at sea.

Maritime law is generally focused on activities and interactions between private enterprises at sea.

Matters related to navigational rights, mining rights, and international jurisdiction are generally covered by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.



Who Enforces Maritime Law?

The question of who enforces maritime law depends on the location and nature of the conflict.

A conflict between vessels within the territorial waters of the United States, for example, would usually refer to the United States federal or state courts.

Issues between sailors and the private companies they sail for would be referred to the appropriate courts within the country where the ship was registered.

Since questions of enforcement and case referral can be complex, the body of international agreements concerning maritime law is constantly growing.



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