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NABP3003 Maritime law

Course description for academic year 2024/2025

Contents and structure

The subject Maritime Law aim to provide students with a good overview over national and international rules and regulations concerning maritime operations, the ship, the company and seafarers. Case-studies is a central part of the subject, in order to understand the rules and illustrate their relevance in practice.

The subject is divided into two moduls: Ship safety law (maritime legislation) and maritime law.

Learning Outcome

Module 1 - Ship safety law

The module "Ship safety law" is a special branch of maritime law that deals with national and international legal rules that are intended to facilitate good ship safety (safety rules). Key topics addressed are:

- Law of the Sea, including which vessels are covered by the regulations and where (cf. UNCLOS).

- Duties of shipowners, masters and others on board with regard to ship safety and security management (cf. ISM Code).

- Legal requirements for technical and operational safety, including certificate requirements (cf. SOLAS).

- Legal requirements for safe navigation, watchkeeping and crew competence (cf. COLREG and STCW).

- Legal requirements that shall contribute to personal safety and a good working and living conditions on board, (cf. MLC).

- Legal requirements to prevent pollution and secure the external environment and facilitate green shipping (cf. MARPOL).

- Legal requirements for securing ships against terrorist attacks, pirate attacks, cyber threats, etc. (see ISPS code)

- Supervision and control of Norwegian and foreign ships, including flag state control and port state control (cf. Paris MoU).

- Administrative measures, administrative sanctions and criminal liability for violations of maritime rules and regulations.

Central conventions and regulations are UNCLOS, SOLAS, STCW, COLREG, MLC, MARPOL, the ISM Code and the ISPS Code, Paris MoU, as well as relevant EU regulations. International rules are incorporated into Norwegian law in the Ship Safety and Security Act of 2007 with regulations, and the main focus will be on that Act.

Module II - maritime law

The module Maritime law is linked to module 1 - ship safety law. In module 1, the Ship Safety and Security Act of 2007 is the central act, while in module 2 - Maritime Law, the Maritime Act of 1994 is the central act.

In maritime law, we look in particular at the legal relationship between private parties in maritime relations, such as the relationship between carrier and charterer, including

- Rules on ship registration, purchase / sale and construction of ships, mortgage / right of retention and arrest in ships.

- The Ship Labor Act and the crew's legal rights.

- Liability in the event of a collision and other maritime accidents, cargo damage, rules on general accidents, etc.

- Different freight agreements and chartering rules.

- Salvage and investigation of maritime accidents.

- Sea insurance.

A recurring theme in both modules is how international maritime rules are implemented in Norwegian law. Another recurring theme is how legal issues are to be resolved in theory and practice, and how to find answers to what is lawful, that is, legal method.

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge


Teaching methods

Lectures, self-study, discussions and problem solving.

Compulsory learning activities

Two written submissions.


Two written digital school exams, five hours each.

Grading Scale A-F.

Examination support material

Lovdata.no and Approved collection of Norwegian acts and regulations.

More about examination support material