Seaworthiness of Vessel: Book Content and Description

'Seaworthiness of Vessel within International Maritime Law'Seaworthiness of Vessel within International Maritime Law

Author:      Dr. Maximiliano Navas

Solicitor (LLB). Philosophy  Doctorate in Commercial and Maritime Law (PhD). Master’s Degree in Maritime Law (LLM). Master Mariner. Bachelor of Science in Nautical and Maritime Transport (BSc)

Publisher: Escuela de Administración Marítima, Dirección de Infraestructuras del Transporte, Departamento de Medio Ambiente y Política Territorial del Gobierno Vasco, Servicio Central de Publicaciones, Vitoria – Gasteiz, Spain, July 2013.

Pages: 1,098 pages              Bookbinding: Hardcover                 Download Index

            Price:  70.00 €  (VAT incl.)                               Purchase the book



Exposure is divided into two distinct sections: Part I, of the regime of Public Legal aspects of Seaworthiness (Chapters 1 to 4), and a second part of the Private Legal aspects (Chapters 5 to 16). Part I of the book contains a detailed study of the legal and material obligation of Seaworthiness, systematizing the provisions of European Community Law, the most important International Treaties and Conventions, and other standards and Codes of conduct that all minimally diligent professional must respect. It sets out the legal aspects of public maritime and vessel safety that are connected to Seaworthiness, allowing finally get to refine the concept and impact of this obligation on the vessel’s concept and in other related fields of great significance, such as classification societies regulations.

In Part II, are discussed extensively many patrimonial aspects of Private Law of the obligations and contracts, as well as the essential elements connected with Seaworthiness of vessel. Each chapter begins with a proper frame of Maritime legal institution addressed, along with the corresponding development of the Spanish Legal System, the Comparative Law and, particularly, the English and US Law, ending with the study of the practice of Conventional International Law of forms and policies. Then, the author analizes the obligation to deliver a seaworthy vessel in Shipbuilding contracts and Ship Sale-Purchase ones. Its content does a thorough analysis of the rationale, content and scope of all duties of Seaworthiness in the Spanish current Commercial Code, 1885. Later it continues with the Voyage and Time Charter, the Demise Charter – Bareboat Charter, leasing, etc. -, the Tug and Tow Law, the Maritime Passenger and Cruising contracts, and the International Carriage of Goods by Sea contracts (Harter Act, Hague and Hague-Visby Rules, most relevant COGSAs, and the Hamburg and recent Rotterdam Rules). Finish this section and the book with the study of the previous condition of Seaworthiness in Marine Insurance contracts and with the impact of the obligation on the field of the General Average.

The technical advances that are applied to make a vessel seaworthy are constantly evolving. At present, the binding of an extensive catalogue of rules of the national Laws, European Community Law and International Conventions, means that new and demanding criteria of Seaworthiness and maritime liability has appeared in the scene. Seaworthiness conditions have been redefined objectively and subjectively. The parameters for the operational management of the vessel’s safety now include not only those relative to the vessel (seaworthiness), relative to the cargo (cargoworthiness) or to the intended voyage, but also aspects of environmental protection that are to be completed by the crew, by ship-owners and by their dependents on shore. Although one could strictly speak of statutory seaworthiness, it seems more accurate to also refer to the human factor (human management worthiness). Today, Maritime Safety is no longer the sole responsibility of the governments or individual States. Now it has come to be directly shared by the ship-owners and ship operators, who have to implement it within their companies and vessels.

In short, Seaworthiness can be broadly defined as the fit condition or preparedness of a vessel, which is necessary for transport or other maritime specific purposes: “fitness for a particular purpose”. That is, the “special aptitude and suitability, from all points of view objective and subjective, that the vessel must meet to provide operational safety and effective and efficient performance needed for shipping”. This figure or institution, which appears on some occasions absolute guarantee form and in others, such as due diligence obligation, is undoubtedly the “Key of the Maritime Safety System”. In practice, neither more nor less than the “Achilles heel” of ship-owners, and their dependents and auxiliaries, and it is to be regarded as the horizontal “Axis of International Maritime Law”, even though it is, in some occasions, more similar to a crankshaft, for the apparent shape as is understood.

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