Chapter 1 What is maritime law?
Maybe you are about to embark on a study of maritime law. What can you expect to find?
The maritime operations around which the subject is based involve international sales of goods from one country to another, where carriage of those goods is by sea. Something like 90 per cent of the tonnage of goods imported and exported are carried by sea, because the capacity of modern ships far exceeds that of alternative means of carriage, and because the costs of transport per ton-mile are much lower. My home city of Southampton sees the world’s largest container ships, some of which can carry as many as 21,000 TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, or standard shipping containers); that is at the time of writing – no doubt this figure will increase. Container ships are only a small part of the overall picture, however, with a far greater tonnage being carried in dry-bulk carriers and tankers. Container ships carry the world’s manufactured goods, but raw materials, whether oil or dry cargo, are carried in bulk.
In my experience, students of maritime law usually opt to take the following subjects (nowadays described as modules within the English education system): international sales (sometimes entitled international trade law, or international sales and finance, or something similar), carriage of goods by sea, marine insurance law and Admiralty law. Students who complete these modules can legitimately claim to have become expert in maritime law, and employers and others can legitimately expect these...
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