The Official Blog of the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law
IISTL exists as a specialist research and professional training centre within the School of Law at Swansea University, promoting research and teaching of the highest standard in international shipping and trade law, fostering co-operation with other academic institutions and professional, commercial, shipping, insurance and business organisations.
Over the last decade, the IISTL has gained a world-wide reputation for its contribution to research, policy making, professional training and teaching in the areas of shipping and trade law.
It has been a challenging and in many ways difficult year for us all! But, the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law has continued its activities doing what it does best: publishing academic work, organising events and contributing to the development of law and policy.
We would like to wish all of our friends, colleagues and followers a happy new year and we hope everyone safely enjoy the festive season! It is our expectation that 2021 will be a better year for us all!
This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary! Yes it has been 2 decades since the foundation of the IISTL in 2000 by Professor DR Thomas! The current Director Professor Soyer on behalf of every IISTL member and the School of Law wishes to invite you to join us to celebrate this great occasion that also coincides with our University’s Centenary!
Delighted that our new book “Ship Operations- New Risks, Liabilities and Technologies in the Maritime Sector” has just been released by Informa Law.
This book covers all the major topics associated with ship operations. Part I offers a detailed and critical analysis of issues of contemporary importance concerning new liability regimes and developments. Part 2 discusses how parties, in particular ship operators, attempt in contemporary practice to allocate their risks concerning ship operations by utilizing contractual mechanisms.
Apart from members of the IISTL namely Dr Leloudas, Professors Baughen, Rainey QC, Sozer, Soyer, Tettenborn and Williams, the following excellent authors contributed to this book: Professor Ringbom, Professor Cachard, Mr Macfarlane, Mr Hunter, Associate Professor Stevens, Sir Bernard Eder, Mr Martin and Mr Weale.
The book provides an invaluable guide to recent legal and practical developments and offers a comprehensive, well-informed and thoroughly practical guide on what is a very complex and developing area of law. It will therefore be of great use to legal practitioners and administrators of ship operations worldwide, as well as students in this area and academics associated with maritime law generally.
Evergreen Marine (UK) Limited (Appellant) v Nautical Challenge Ltd (Respondent)
This is the first collision case to reach the highest court on land since 1976. This appeal concerns the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972, as amended (“the Collision Regulations”). The issues in the appeal are:
(1) The proper construction of the Collision Regulations. In particular whether the crossing rules are inapplicable, or whether they should they be disapplied where an outbound vessel is navigating within a narrow channel and has a vessel on her port (or starboard) bow on a crossing course approaching a narrow channel with the intention of and in preparation for entering it.
(2) On the proper construction of the Collision Regulations, in determining whether the crossing rules are applicable, whether there is a requirement for the putative give-way vessel to be on a steady course before the crossing rules can be engaged.
This appeal concerns a collision at sea between the appellant’s vessel (“EVER SMART”) and the respondent’s vessel (“ALEXANDRA 1”). The collision took place on 11 February 2015 just outside the dredged channel by which vessels enter and exit the port of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates. ALEXANDRA 1 was inbound; EVER SMART was outward bound. The damage suffered by ALEXANDRA 1 amounted to over US$9.3 million and the damage suffered by EVER SMART amounted to over US$2.5 million.
The Admiralty Court determined that the appellant’s vessel, EVER SMART, should bear 80% of the liability for the collision and the respondent’s vessel, ALEXANDRA 1, should bear 20%. The judge held that the crossing rules (Rules 15-17 of the Collision Regulations) did not apply and therefore that ALEXANDRA 1 did not navigate in breach of Rule 16, the crossing rule which was said by the appellant to have applied to the ALEXANDRA 1. The Court of Appeal dismissed the Appellant’s appeal  EWCA Civ 2173. The Appellant now appeals to the Supreme Court.
English law and jurisdiction are commonly used in relation to shipping, insurance and other trade contracts. Nevertheless, commercial law is overwhelmingly transnational in character; delicate questions of interaction are unavoidable between choice of law, jurisdiction and arbitration clauses on the one hand, and the activities of courts and arbitrators in other jurisdictions on the other.
This is particularly true of cases with a connection to China, London, Singapore and New York arbitrations very frequently involve Chinese parties, or other parties with assets or accounts in China; how such awards can be transformed into hard cash is a top concern of any lawyer involved with them. Similarly, the European ‘torpedo action’ aimed at preventing claimants suing in their own, or indeed their chosen, jurisdiction is well-known worldwide and deserves a thorough examination.
To this end, HFW and Swansea Law School’s Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, a top law firm and law school for shipping and commercial law, have teamed up with the China-Europe Commercial Collaboration Association to offer a one-day seminar on arbitration and jurisdiction in the commercial context, with particular reference to developments in the UK, China and Europe.
The following topics will be discussed at the event:
The recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in China
The recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Turkey
Recognition and enforcement of interim arbitral awards in Germany
European “torpedo actions”; the present position and possible future developments.
How to ensure that agreed jurisdiction clauses are honoured in shipping contracts.
The approach of the English courts to appeals from arbitration awards on jurisdictional grounds.
The Impact of Brexit on maritime disputes and dispute resolution.
The impact of cultural differences on the effect of evidence
Public policy exception and enforcement of arbitration awards – a comparative approach
China International Commercial Court – Construction of Arbitration Clauses
Speakers and chairpersons include:
Professor Lia Athanasiou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
Professor Simon Baughen, Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, Swansea University
Simon Croall QC, Head of Quadrant Chambers, London
Paul Dean, Partner and Global Head of Shipping, HFW, London
Athens Convention time-bars are not the most riveting topic, but can be important. P&I clubs have little compunction in pouncing on inexperienced personal injury solicitors who miss the two-year time-bar and assume their clients have what is otherwise the normal three years to sue. But what happens when the claimant has the benefit of something that would delay the starting of the clock, such as a later date of knowledge, incapacity or even fraudulent concealment? Subject always to the absolute three-year Athens longstop, can they take advantage of this? Upholding the Inner House, the Supreme Court in a brief decision has now said they can, thus setting to rest doubts stemming from Higham v Stena Sealink Ltd  1 WLR 110.
The issue turns on the wording of Art.16(2), under which periods of “interruption” or “suspension” of a time-bar are governed by the law of the forum. These terms are normally used in connection with Continental systems’ long-standing habit of switching limitation periods on and off after they have started, rather like a malfunctioning Belisha beacon, on account of all sorts of matters such as ongoing negotiations. We don’t do that, being happy on occasion to delay the starting of the clock, but insisting that once it has started it ticks on to the bitter end. Can “interruption” or “suspension” cover this situation, that is a limitation clock that never starts, as against one that starts and then temporarily stops? The answer is Yes; the only exception is s.33, allowing the limitation period to be disregarded entirely if just and equitable, which clearly neither interrupts nor suspends anything.. And rightly so: Athens needs uniform interpretation, and a reading that took account of Continental modifications of the limitation period but not UK ones would be not only nit-picking but highly non-uniform. It would represent a kind of UK exceptionalism we can well do without.
Warner v Scapa Flow Charters (Scotland)  UKSC 52 was, as readers no doubt noticed as a result of the reference to the Inner House, technically a Scots decision turning on the Scots law of prescription. But it is plainly just as relevant to our own Limitation Act 1980. Happy reading.
The Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law (IISTL), a research centre within the College of Law and Criminology, continues to expand its operations. On 26 June, it collaborated with marine advocacy group Oceana to organise an afternoon seminar in London on the insurance and regulatory aspects of irregular fishing (known in the trade as fishing that is illegal, unreported and uncontrolled (IUU)). The main purpose of the event was to disseminate as widely as possible the results of a study carried out by three members of the Institute (Barış Soyer, George Leloudas and Dora Nikaki) in collaboration with researchers from University of British Columbia (Canada). In summary, the study found that it had been disconcertingly easy for vessels involved in IUU fishing to get liability insurance in the market. The study recommended an urgent review of underwriting processes and consideration of regulatory changes to put insurers under a legal duty to deny cover to vessels known to be connected with IIU activities.
The event, which attracted an impressive 60 delegates, provided an excellent opportunity for those throughout the sector to engage in the debate. Presentations from Lasse Gustavsson (Senior Vice President of Oceana Europe) , Kjetil Saeter (Norwegian Business Daily), David Vajnai (Vice President Marsh Global Marine Practice), Baris Soyer and Gerorge Leloudas (IISLT) and Dana Miller (a marine scientist with Oceana Europe) were followed by a lively debate led by insurers, brokers and policy-makers. The afternoon ended with a reception generously sponsored by the Waterloo Foundation, which was also the funder of the project. An academic article, which is co-written by Professor B. Soyer, Associate Professor G. Leoudas and Dr D. Miller, detailing main findings of the project is to appear in Transnational Environmental Law later this year.
Dr Leloudas talking about the regulatory aspects of the issue