Basic Principles of Maritime Law for Ship Brokers and Agents

Instructor: Professor Jeffrey A. Weiss, Professor of Maritime Law, S.U.N.Y Maritime College, Graduate Division; maritime attorney and marine arbitrator

Maritime law regulates the business of carrying cargo and passengers by sea. It is one of the world’s oldest bodies of law, its beginnings arising out of commerce between ancient lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

This distance learning/internet based course provides an introduction to aspects of maritime law of particular interest to the ship broker and/or agent. We hope that a better understanding of relevant aspects of maritime law will enable you to more profitably service your principals.

For more information, complete this request form or call (201) 569-2882


Twelve Week Duration.

Upon registration, each student will be provided with his/her password for purposes of logging on to the ASBA continuing education web page. Learning will be asynchronous. Each student will select his/her time for attending the “virtual” class every two weeks (by reading classroom lectures). Each student must also read the textbook and other more traditional reading materials. Students will be required to ask questions of the course instructor via the ASBA web based forum. Questions and answers are viewable by all registrants. ASBA will award a certificate upon satisfactory completion of the program.

Topic Outline

Week 1 – 2

  • Introduction to Maritime Law and its Procedure
  • Constitution and Statutory Basis of Admiralty Jurisdiction,
  • Admiralty Jurisdiction: General Considerations,
  • The Sources of Maritime Law,
  • Unique Aspects of the Maritime Law,
  • The Role of the Federal Court,
  • Maritime Arbitration.

Week 3 – 4

  • Carriage Within the Context of International Trade,
  • Common Carriage and Private Carriage,
  • The Contract of Affreightment,
  • Fundamentals of Freight,
  • The Role of Freight Forwarders, Agents, and other Transport Intermediaries,
  • Bills of Lading: Applicable Laws, Function and Use,
  • Himalaya Clauses
  • International Conventions Relating to Carriage of Goods by Sea.

Week 5 – 6

  • Coverage and Application of COGSA and Harter Act,
  • Carrier’s Responsibility before Loading and After Discharge,
  • Delivery of Cargo,
  • Deck Cargo and Other Excluded Cargoes,
  • Exoneration Clauses,
  • The Shipper’s Prima Facie Case,
  • Burdens of Proof and Presumptions,
  • The Duty of the Carrier to Make the Vessel Seaworthy,
  • The Carrier’s Duty, to Properly Load, Handle, etc,
  • Neglect of the Carrier in Navigation or Management, etc.,
  • Fire, Perils of the Sea, Act of God, Act of War, Public Enemies etc.,
  • Faults of the Shipper,
  • Deviation and Fundamental Breach,
  • Limitation of Liability and the Package Problem.

Week 7 – 8

  • Charter Party Law and Practice,
  • Charter Party Forms and Functions,
  • Charter Party Fixtures,
  • The Demise Charter,
  • The Voyage Charter,
  • The Time Charter,
  • Obligation to Provide a Seaworthy Vessel,
  • Care of the Ship and Redelivery,
  • Safe Ports and Berths,
  • Freight, Hire and the Off Hire Clause,
  • Prosecution of the Voyage,
  • Loading and Discharge, Laytime, etc,
  • Frustration and Commercial Impracticality.

Week 9 – 10

  • Maritime Liens, Nature, Creation and Acquisition
  • Liens for Necessaries,
  • Foreclosure and Priority of Claims,
  • Discharge and Extinction of Liens;
  • Rule C Arrest
  • Rule B Attachment
  • Your Agency fees; Brokerage Commissions, etc.

Week 11 – 12

  • Basic Principles (of G.A.),
  • G.A. Procedure and Calculation.
  • Elements of Salvage,
  • Property Subject to Salvage,
  • The Salvage Award,
  • Pure Salvage, Contract Salvage, LOF
  • Law of Finds
  • Additional topics of interest.

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