Maritime Law and Wet Shipping

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
01 July 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for

LLM M22112 International Trade and Maritime Law,
LLM M22124 International Trade and Maritime Law,
LLM M221PP International Trade and Maritime Law with Professional Placement,
LLM M22E12 Maritime Law,
LLM M22E24 Maritime Law

Module description

Maritime and Shipping Law can broadly be divided into `dry` and `wet` shipping. The former, deals with contractual and commercial matters. The latter, which is the focus of this module, deals with incidents on the high seas. As such, matters such as collisions and damage to the vessel and the environment are the main issues of this module.

We cover areas such as, collisions, salvage and liabilities of the vessel. In other words, this module looks at general maritime law issues as well as issues relating to the sea itself, rather than purely to the contractual relationships of shipping parties.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To provide students with detailed knowledge of substantive laws in the various topics discussed in the module.

  • To provide students with a good working understanding of the commercial realities and operations that underpin shipping activities and how these are and ought to be balanced against growing demands for environmental protection.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Confidently navigate legal material pertaining to ships and their operation, including legislation, case law and relevant policy and other documents.

  2. Solve practical legal problems relating to ships and their operation

  3. Formulate well-reasoned academic arguments premised upon a sound understanding of the relevant legal principles

  4. Engage in current debates relating to developments in the shipping industry, mindful of prevalent commercial, public, and other interests

  5. Independently undertake research and investigate further topics in maritime law, mindful of a broader commercial and public context

Module information

Indicative Syllabus

  • Introduction and Historical Overview
    Introduction to standard concepts such as Maritime, Marine, and Admiralty law. We also look at the historical origins (often disputed) of maritime law, which has been described as ancient. From its early inception maritime law (lex maritima) was international in its application providing a legal framework for the eventual unfolding of international trade and globalisation. We explore its lineage and discuss the similarities to be found internationally in this area of the law.

  • Ship Building, Finance and Registration
    While this topic is strictly speaking dry maritime law, it functions as the logical precursor to the topics to follow. We look at the start of life for a ship with shipbuilding contracts, the sale and purchase of vessels, registration of ship for flag and nationality purposes, and finance from lenders for purchase.

  • Collisions
    With collisions occurring at sea we look at the interests of different parties in such cases (owners, cargo owners, insurers, lenders, etc.) the evidence required, and the investigation methods as well as the liability for collisions and litigation in Admiralty Court.

  • Salvage
    The description of salvage and salvage contracts as well as the salvage reward, we look at the typical example of the Lloyd`s Open Form and examine the IMO Salvage Convention 1989 and its review by CMI.

  • Towage
    We examine the main principles, that govern towage including cases, legislation and standard form contracts. We look at liability issues that may arise from a contract of towage, the legal relationship between tug and tow, and the liability of tug and tow to third parties.

  • Marine pollution
    We look at the potential damage to the environment vessels can cause for example, we look at bunker pollution and spilled oil and oil production. Lastly, the safe scrapping of old vessels.

The core textbooks for this module are Baatz’s Maritime Law (2014) and Baughen`s Shipping Law (2015). We will also be scrutinising UK statutes and International legislation. Students will be directed to other related materials throughout the course. The reading and work for each workshop will be issued in advance and should be completed by the student prior to the session. Other specialist books in the field include: Admiralty Jurisdiction and Practice, 2011 (new edition Dec 2016) Berlingieri on Arrest of Ships, 2011 Enforcement of Maritime Claims, 2005 International Maritime Conventions Volumes I and II, 2014 Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 2005 Modern Maritime Law Volumes 1 and 2, 2013 Pollution at Sea, 2012 Ship Registration: Law and Practice, 2009 Ship Sale and Purchase, 2012 Shipping and the Environment, 2009 The Law of Ship Building Contracts, 2012 Shipbuilding, Sale and Finance, 2015 The Law and Practice of Admiralty Matters, 2016 The International Law of the Sea, 2016

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour interactive workshop each week which can be a blend of online and face to face teaching.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Julia Constantino Chagas Lessa, email: j.constantinochagaslessa@essex.ac.uk.
The Law Education Admin Team - pgtlawqueries@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Prof Duncan Sheehan
University of Leeds
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Law School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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