“Legal aspects of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean Sea: An Adriatic and Ionian Perspective”
Edited by Mitja GRBEC, Tulio SCOVAZZI and Ilaria TANI,
Routledge (London/New York, 2023)
Reviewed by MARKO PAVLIHA
The legendary visionary, ocean explorer, inventor, photographer, writer, and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau already argued many years ago that “the sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: We are all in the same boat.”
Indeed, we are all on the same Blue Planet governed by legal rules which also play an important role in protecting and improving the marine environment. It is therefore commendable that Routledge of the Taylor & Francis Group has decided to publish a special monograph on “Legal Aspects of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean Sea: And Adriatic and Ionian Perspective” as part of the IMLI Studies in International Law, which was edited by Dr. Mitja Grbec, Dr. Tullio Scovazzi and Dr. Ilara Tani. They have also written most of the chapters, and in addition, two critical perspectives were contributed by Mitja Bricelj and Iztok Škerlič.
As explained in the preface of the book, the objective is to provide a comprehensive overview of the legal basis, under international and the relevant regional legal frameworks, for the establishment and further development of area-based conservation tools in the Mediterranean Sea, with a particular emphasis on the transboundary area-based conservation instruments available for the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
The monograph has 252 pages and comprises a foreword and preface, acknowledgments, lists of abbreviations and acronyms, figures and contributors, 12 chapters, references and index. After the introductory overview of the geographical and political considerations of the Mediterranean waters and its present juridical picture, the global legal basis for marine area-based conservation is presented, including the “marine bible” UNCLOS and other international conventions on whaling, biological diversity, protection of the world cultural and natural heritage, prevention of pollution from ships, and protection of the underwater cultural heritage.
One of the key regional legal instruments is the Barcelona Convention, supported by other agreements and sub-regional instruments such as the Cooperation Within the Framework of the European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR). The regional focus considers the means of transboundary cooperation in marine conservation that are currently in place among the states bordering the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, including the EU members (Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Slovenia) and the candidates (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro).
Furthermore, the EU law is explained which springs mostly from the Integrated Maritime Policy, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and some other legal documents. Then the specially protected areas of Mediterranean importance are discussed, as well as the possibility for establishing a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area in the maritime region in question, which is defined by International Maritime organisation (IMO) as an area that needs special protection because of its significance for recognized ecological or socioeconomic or scientific reasons and which may be vulnerable to damage by international shipping activities.
In the final chapter of the book the editors conclude their invaluable research with the following holistic and practical remarks:
“An essential consideration in defining the ways forward lies in that once all remaining coastal States that have not yet done so decide to proclaim an exclusive economic zone – namely Albania, Italy (which has adopted in 2021 a framework law that needs to be implemented through presidential decree), Greece, and Montenegro – the high seas will disappear from the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Such trend toward the establishment of exclusive economic zones could soon become an incentive toward the adoption of a coherent and coordinated Mediterranean – and Adriatic and Ionian – network of transboundary area-based conservation tools.”
I entirely agree with Professor Dr. David Joseph Attard in his foreword that this is an important and learned book which provides original and innovative approaches to deal with the challenge of protecting the marine environment in semi-enclosed seas. The authors have undertaken “a compelling and comprehensive examination of area-based conservation in one of the most complex, at times turbulent, restricted maritime area in the Mediterranean.” They have contributed greatly to the well-being of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas by providing the excellent tool that will assist the efforts to protect the marine areas of the littoral States.
Therefore I also fully recommend this impressive publication to various officials, diplomats, scholars, academics, students, and other audiences who care about our precious marine environment.
 D.C.L. (McGill), Dr. iur. h.c. (IMO IMLI); Professor of Transport Law, Maritime Law, Commercial Law and Insurance Law, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Maritime Studies and Transportation (Slovenia); Visiting Fellow, Member of the Board of Governors and Member of the Academic Board of the IMO IMLI (Malta).
 The Series Editor is Professor Norman A. Martinez Gutiérrez, Director, IMO IMLI.
 Attorney-at-Law in Koper (Slovenia); Visiting Lecturer at IMO IMLI; Assistant Professor at University of Primorska, Faculty of Management (Slovenia); Secretary-General of the Maritime Law Association of Slovenia; Titulary Member of the CMI.
 Associate Member of the Institut de Droit International; Former Professor of International Law at the Universities of Parma and Milano-Bicocca (Italy).
 Attorney-at-Law in Milan (Italy); Adjunct Professor of International Law of the Sea and Maritime Law at University of Milano-Bicocca (Italy); Former Associate Legal Officer at UN DOALOS (USA).
 Co-ordinator of the third thematic pillar of European Union Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR).
 Director of the EUSAIR Facility Point Project partner (Slovenia).
 Judge; Former Vice-President of ITLOS (Hamburg, Germany); Former Director of IMO IMLI (Malta).
The Title of Professor of International Maritime Law Honoris Causa, was bestowed on IMLI Governor, Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Marko Pavliha (Head of Law Department, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Maritime Studies and Transportation, Slovenia; Member, IMLI Governing Board), during IMLI’s 34th Graduation Ceremony. Professor Pavliha has written numerous maritime law books and countless contributions to highly regarded journals including ETL.
Through his work at the Comité Maritime International, the Slovenian Maritime Law Association and other international fora, he has greatly contributed to the harmonization, progressive development and codification of international maritime law.
IMLI is the IMO International Maritime Law Institute, established in 1988 under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. Its mission is to train specialists in maritime law. More on https://imli.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/IMLI-e-News-No.-43-2022-2023.pdf
At an impressive signing ceremony held at Beijing on 5 September 2023, the UN Convention on the International Effects of the Judicial Sale of Ships was signed by no less than 15 States. Initial signatories are China, Burkina Faso, Comoros, El Salvador, Kiribati, Grenada, Honduras, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Switzerland and Syria. A series of EU member states is expected to accede to the Convention later this year once Brussels gives green light.
The UN Convention on the International Effects of Judicial Sales of Ships has been nearly two decades in the making, under the sponsorship of the Comité Maritime International (CMI), the federation of the world’s national maritime law associations that works toward improving and harmonising international maritime law. This is a very important step for international maritime law because, for the first time, we will have a convention which ensures that when a vessel is sold in a judicial sale free and unencumbered in accordance with the provisions of the Convention, that that title is given full effect all over the world.
ETL issued a special edition on the Beijing Convention containing not only the text of the Convention in all 6 authentic language versions, but also a commentary co-authored by experts who have actively contributed to the genesis of the Convention within UNCITRAL Working Group VI (Judicial Sale of Ships), as well as the Explanatory Note prepared by the UNCITRAL Secretariate and reflecting the deliberations of UNCITRAL Working Group VI (Judicial Sale of Ships). This‘bible’ on the Beijing Convention concludes with contributions by a number of professional organisations, representing amongst others the ship owning community, shipping financiers, flag states and the judiciary, expressing their support for the Convention and the need for States to sign and ratify it. Interested in a copy of this special edition? Enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maritime Skills on Vessels & Shore – the STCW Convention’s Relevance & Recommendations
Vivek Jain (Ed.)
Notion Press / Sagar Sandesh, 2023
Dr. (Capt.) Vivek Jain has released this seminal book for seafarers and maritime industry, on 25th June, International Day of Seafarers. This book is of the seafarers, by the seafarers, for the seafarers..In hard copy it is available on all electronic platforms and e-copy will be released shortly. The book counts 422 pages and 23 Chapters divided into four parts. Through this book, the Editor is giving to the maritime industry a new model of skills-set for seafarers.
According to Dr. Jain, Seafarers are the beating heart of all maritime trade and their expectations/perspectives alone should be centre of all solutions for maritime skills for them. From this standpoint, he has explored the issues of maritime skills with critical gaps following a framework of research methodology. This exhaustive book can serve as a guide for further revisions or revamping of the current STCW Convention.
The issue of critical gaps in maritime skills is further exacerbated due to the impacts on seafarers due to change in – eco-system, status & relationship with stakeholders, technology, focus on renewable energy, anxiety levels and so forth. Furthermore, stakeholders can no longer ignore the fact that seafarers are leaving their seagoing career after working only for few years and there is a need of portability of skills. Therefore, the editor has also explored a need for preparing seafarers for transition into maritime shore jobs to preserve their maritime skills for maritime industry. In addition one of critical gap in skills pertains to female seafarers, who are crucial to plug the shortages but they need safe working environment. There are two chapters on it from two female maritime professionals. The book also deals with skills required to think about welfare of seafarers as it will assist in retention of seafarers.
Dr. Jain has divided the researched critical gaps in maritime skills into four groups (Jain’s Model for Maritime Skills) – Panoptic, Social Intelligence, Upskilling & Reskilling for on board vessels, and Portable Skills for future shore jobs. Panoptic and Social Skills are core skills required for both onboard vessels as well for maritime shore jobs.
Panoptic maritime skills included concepts such as sustainability of skills, adaptability skills, innovation skills, Self-protection maritime skills for seafarers – knowledge of financial literacy, human rights and relevant Insurances, incorporating higher level skill in whatever is taught to seafarers. Social intelligence skills include appreciating empowerment of women, gender and cultural sensitivity, skills in seafarers about thinking of welfare or seafarers and behavioural competency to survive. Upskilling and Reskilling for on board vessels would be required in areas such as enhancing mental skills to cope with stress and fatigue, digital maritime skills, adopting skills to cope with advancing controls system and automation, LNG-fueling, tactically using simulators, workshops and laboratories to enhance productivity, enhancing skills associated with security on vessels, appreciating general average skills and Polar and Ice navigation skills for new trade routes due to climate change
Follows a voyage to discover, persuade, persevere and collaborate with number of exceptionally experienced subject-matter experts over many months to pursue collaboratively many mini-research projects adopting specific methodology across all selected maritime skills to plug these critical gaps and they are – (1) from countries such as India, Philippines, Romania, South Korea, Malaysia, UAE & Singapore, (2) from both genders, (3) from deck, engine & professionals settled ashore, (4) with current experience in industry and/or sea at fundamental level, and (5) from seafaring supplying nations recognising/experiencing relevant socio-economic circumstances of seafarers.
Around 21 professionals have worked with the editor over many months on a set structure of research on each of the identified maritime skill with gap:
|i.||Stage 1 – what are the elements within the identified maritime skills with critical gaps? (To comprehend the critical gaps)|
|ii.||Stage 2 – do the courses and training on board vessels pursuant to the existing STCW Convention (as amended) ensure seafarers have such maritime skills?|
|iii.||Stage 3 – the remaining maritime skills or their components that are not covered through training and experience pursuant to the STCW Convention (as discussed in the above stage 2) are gaps in the elements of the maritime skills identified as having critical gaps in Step 1.|
|iv.||Stage 4 – Recommendations and conclusions to plug the critical gaps in those elements of maritime skills as identified in the above stage 3.|
From this book, the seafarers will not just get the ideas how to plug the gaps in maritime skills but also how they can transition with their existing skills to a few maritime jobs such as marine superintendents, marine managers, designated person ashore, pilots, managers supervising new build/second-hand vessels, IT managers in maritime domain, Marine surveyors, marine experts/investigators, marine pilots in ports, maritime arbitrators and managers in a ship yards and so forth. The proposed solutions may also assist resolving the issue of shortage and retention of seafarers.
At its General Assembly on Thursday 8th June 2023, the Belgian Maritime Law Association – Belgische Vereniging voor Zeerecht – Association Belge de Droit Maritime, elected Peter Laurijssen as its 14th president since the Association’s founding in 1896.
The Belgian Maritime Law Association was one of the founding fathers of the Comité Maritime International (CMI) in 1897 and promotes the harmonisation and unification of international maritime law.
Peter is Legal Director at Compagnie Maritime Belge in Antwerp, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and Editor of European Transport Law.
On 7 December 2022 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Convention on the International Effects of Judicial Sales of Ships. The Convention is the culmination of work undertaken by the Comité Maritime International (CMI) and later on by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Its aim is to provide harmonisation, legal certainty and fairness to all stakeholders in judicial sales of ships: traders, ship owners, shipping financiers and creditors alike. The signing ceremony of the Convention is scheduled to be held in Beijing later this year.
The booklet edited by ETL and the CMI contains not only the text of the Convention in all 6 authentic language versions, but also a commentary co-authored by experts who have actively contributed to the genesis of the Convention within UNCITRAL Working Group VI (Judicial Sale of Ships), as well as the Explanatory Note prepared by the UNCITRAL Secretariate and reflecting the deliberations of UNCITRAL Working Group VI (Judicial Sale of Ships). This ‘bible’ on the Beijing Convention concludes with contributions by a number of professional organisations, representing amongst others the ship owning community, shipping financiers, flag states and the judiciary, expressing their support for the Convention and the need for States to sign and ratify it.
Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road
Springer Nature Switzerland, 2022
In its Law for Professionals series, Springer has recently published Chiara Tincani’s Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road. Chiara Tincani is professor at the Department of Law of the University of Verona in Italy. Her book is an academic piece of work on the 1956 Geneva Convention on the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR – Convention relative au Contrat de transport international de Marchandises par Route). Since the origin of the CMR, the main books published in English are from the hand of authoritative common law academics. Professor Tincani’s work, although written in English, is to be situated rather in the line of the leading authors on CMR in the continental law tradition. The author departs from a huge body of court cases, systematically listed in an impressive table of cases, from continental jurisdictions including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and others. At the same time, English cases are extensively being referred to, prompting for a comparison between the application of the CMR by courts on the continent on the one hand and common law courts on the other. Moreover, each chapter is followed by an extensive list of notes, articles and books on the subject matter covered.
Amongst others, all traditional points of discussion in the CMR are treated upon with reference to case law and scholarly writings: combined transport under Article 2, the causes of exemption of Article 17, breaking limitation under Article 29, the liability regime of successive carriers under Articles 34 and following, the scope of the mandatory nature of the Convention pursuant to Article 41. Furthermore, the author also addresses questions arising in this modern day and age, which had never been envisaged by the draftsmen of the CMR, such as transport by driverless vehicles, platooning, electronic documents, modern means of communication and cargo tracing & tracking. In the chapter on jurisdiction special attention is given to the regulations of the European Union dealing with applicable law and jurisdiction and the Lugano Convention inasmuch as dealings with Switzerland are concerned.
In ten chapters this book proposes an up-to-date reading of the CMR, reviewing the Convention’s structure and considering the trends in the case law of most EU countries and England. Recommended reading!
Peter Laurijssen FICS
ETL welcomed more than 300 visitors at its stand at the Antwerp Conference of the Comité Maritime International.
Pictured (from left to right): CMI President Christopher O. Davis, ETL Editorial Coordinator Ilse Busselen and ETL Chief Editor Peter Laurijssen