Admiralty Law

Admiralty law, is also known widely as maritime law, and is the principle body of law that provides a clear and solid regulatory framework for all matters relating to maritime activity, offenses, standards other related matters. It is important that all shipping companies, vessel owners and operators are made aware of Admiralty Law as it governs, and thus influences, the relationships between vessels operating at sea. The scope of Admiralty Law is vast and covers everything from marine commerce to shipping, sailors and navigational rights at sea.

Principals provided under Admiralty law

Typically, each jurisdiction will enforce their own maritime legislation, however Admiralty Law is still applicable, especially in multilateral treaties, as the core of this Admiralty law is built on widespread international law and thus recognized in most countries worldwide.

Admiralty law in principle has two areas of specialism; it is the body for domestic law for general maritime activity, and it is the body for private international law, which regulates private entities operating vessels on the oceans.

The main features of Admiralty Law include but are not strictly limited to; maintenance and cure, personal injuries to passengers, maritime liens and mortgages, salvage and treasure salvage, and piracy. Within these areas, shipping, sailors, transportation of goods and passengers by sea, marine navigation and marine commerce are all included. The maintenance and cure aspect, as enforced by the Law, is the obligation and responsibility of ship owners to provide free medical care to seamen in the event of an injury on duty. Further to this requirement, ship owners are also expected to pay the expenses or “maintenance” of the sea worker while they are recovering from their injuries.

With regards to personal injuries to passengers, Admiralty provides that although the vessel owners have a duty of care towards their passengers, it may also be required for the injured party to prove the ship owner was in fact negligent, thus causing the injury.

Maritime liens and mortgages will be given with a lien against the vessel in question as a form of guarantee of payment. Under Admiralty Law the lien can only be enforced by arresting or seizing the vessel and a case brought to federal court. It is therefore the right for creditors and seamen to have Maritime Lien against a vessel to ensure they are paid their wages

Principals provided for under the law include enforcing the rights of rescuers to claim Marine Salvage awards for the recovery of lost property at sea. Further to this, salvage only applies to the saving of property and now persons as all persons in peril should be saved without the expectation of a reward. The law provides two primary types of applicable salvage, namely contract salvage and pure salvage. Pure salvage can be referred to as merit salvage and indicates that there was no prior or existing contract between the owner of the goods salvages and the salvor. Contract salvage on the other hand provides a contract drafted between the owner of the goods lost at sea and the salvage party, by which the reward for salvaging the goods will normally be stipulated within the contract prior to finding the goods.

Many common law countries follow English Admiralty Law or imposed their own maritime statues that are closely modeled on British maritime law frameworks. The US to contract has its own Admiralty Law.

Cases involving maritime contracts, torts, injuries, and related maritime offenses are held in an Admiralty court, which is commonly referred to as a maritime court.

It is highly advised that all participants in maritime activity, whether a ship owner, vessel operator, shipping company, seaman or vessel passenger, should seek impartial advice and guidance on their rights and obligations as provided by applicable Admiralty Law. It is further advised to research the scope by which you are protected by Admiralty Law as this will ensure your rights are enforced and needs are met in a fair and legal manner