The Art of Dredging

Dredging and shipping

Book review

"International Law of the Shipmaster" offers a complete review of laws and regulations affecting the shipmaster, including customs, stautory law, treaties and regulations.






This is a heavy-weight single-volume encyclopedia of current maritime laws, thus a source of reference for ship masters, and equally for lawyers; the insights gained through this book are invaluable aids to decision making for ship managers and operators in a complex world.

This compendium offers:

    • A history of international law affecting the shipmaster
    • Comparison of regimes of law for shipmasters (and crews) across jurisdictions
    • Examination of shipmaster duties and liabilities and penalties in all IMO member states


Table of contents:

    1. Introduction to the Shipmaster
    2. Overview of International Law Affecting the Shipmaster
    3. Domestic Laws and the Shipmaster
    4. International Organizations Affecting the Shipmaster
    5. Conventions and Treaties Relevant to the Shipmaster
    6. Jurisdiction and the Shipmaster
    7. The Private and Statutory Authority of the Shipmaster.
    8. The Master and the Shipowner
    9. Limitations of Liability
   10. The Flag State
   11. The Vessel and Seaworthiness
   12. Labour
   13. Cargo and Charterers
   14. Third Parties not Aboard
   15. The Voyage
   16. Innocent Passage
   17. The Port State
   18. The Environment
   19. Piracy, Stowaways, Other Trespassers, Contraband
   20. Security of the Vessel, Cargo and Those Aboard
   21. Naval and Civil Authority
   22. The Master and Criminal Laws


This volume gives an excellent understanding into the person and pivotal role of the shipmaster.

A captain holds responsibility for his ship and crew 24/7, but he must also mind the environment, and his cargo.

In the newly emerging world of global business the modern shipmaster must deal with, act upon and make judgments upon vast loads of information pertaining to commercial and maritime practices; cargo, engineering, salvage, medical and employment, as well as weather and issues in port.

This book will also assist the shipmaster to understand his place in law, generally, and specifically; on that "once-in-a-lifetime-event" that every captain may face, and for which he may be grossly unprepared by training or experience.

The book's publication date was September 2009. This kind of book tends to get outdated within a few years, therefore it must be kept updated one way or the other.

The promotional website with the book would be a good medium for that (... but is not used as such, up till now.). 


Currently, the only book that comes close is
"The Shipmaster's Business Companion", the British counterpart, published by The Nautical Institute; another monumental compendium-of-maritime-law at 800+ pages.
The fourth (and last) edition dates from 2004.
This book covers what the title promises: a reference for a captain at sea, largely avoiding "legalese".
However: the field of maritime laws and regulations grows, unstoppable, these books are bound to become classics, and to become reference texts in a world that becomes more complex as the years pass, provided they are kept up-to-date.
Apparently: keeping-yourself-up-to-date in these matters is no easy task; there is not a single point of access on the web for this purpose. The only thing that comes close is: ; a site which is very much U.S. oriented.
Concerning "The International Law of the Shipmaster": see also:
  • Publisher: Lloyd's List (December 31, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1843118076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843118077
  • Authored by: John Cartner, Richard Fiske and Tara Leiter
Marc Van de Velde 
10 / 2010 

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