Maritime Investigations and Expert Assessments

Marine Management | Maritime SafetyMaritime Investigations and Expert Assessments. Maritime safety legal advice

Marine Management services linked to marine safety  law and the occurrence of marine accidents or losses are a specialism of ours. Such services are very common within maritime shipping legal practices in the United Kingdom, the United States, and many other countries. We work very closely with maritime shipping lawyers, economists and naval engineers, all experts in marine management and maritime safety.

The lawyers and solicitors at GMM Maritime Shipping Firm include one who, in addition to holding a Doctorate in Law, is a Master Mariner and a Marine Surveyor. Thus, we are able to provide top-quality Maritime Shipping Law legal advice, Marine Management and Maritime Safety services within the technical and legal area of Maritime Shipping Law, and civil law and commercial contractual law.

Naturally, we have Naval Engineering and Marine Surveying companies that work with us externally on different legal matters, including:

– Investigation of marine losses. Analysis of control and loss prevention systems relating to marine safety

– Drawing up of technical reports and expert assessment reports. Any maritime legal opinion required for disputes, litigation, mediation or arbitration (alternative disputes resolution by means of maritime conciliation, mediation and arbitration)

– Maritime safety services. In particular, analysis of the seaworthiness or unseaworthiness of a vessel (marine management). Case to case (in relation to the cargo, the human factor or to the vessel itself, and whether it conforms to objective or subjective law relating to seaworthiness)

– Loss reports for marine hull and machinery insurance, and marine insurance of goods

– Claims for material and personal loss

– Marine Management of claims relating to P & I Clubs insurance (legal assistance, legal defence, repatriation, delays, etc.)

– General average and simple average

– Marine accidents and losses or navigation-related (accident and losses), and other maritime safety services

– Accidents relating to marine traffic (i.e. navigation disasters caused by collisions)

– Pollution of the marine environment by a vessel

Marine Management | Seaworthiness

Maritime safety, vessels’ safety and marine management on seaworthiness

Currently, maritime safety is not solely the responsibility of States. Now more than ever, this responsibility is shared directly by ship-owners and shipping operators (as well as their employees and assistants). It is these parties that actually implement the Safety Management Systems (ISM Code – SOLAS) which leads to the issuing of the appropriate Safety Management Certificate. Our company provides these specific maritime safety and marine management services.

But what is the exact relationship between maritime safety and the seaworthiness of vessels? The interaction between these two sets of regulations may be represented in the form of two large intersecting data sets, which contain a number of common elements. The broad maritime safety grouping contains, on the one hand, subsets of rules relating to navigational safety and the safety of vessels. On the other hand, it has a subset of rules relating to the safety of the marine environment. These rules subsets are the impetus for the standardisation of the new public law concept of seaworthiness. The seaworthiness set (in addition to other private aspects and regulations not connected with the public safety) would contain, as common elements with the maritime safety set, a number of subsets. There is the entire safety of vessels subset. Included is a substantial portion of navigational safety (both safety and security, in the sense of protection), specifically those aspects with the ultimate objective of the protection of vessels. There are the aspects of safety of the marine environment protection linked to vessels. Finally, the set includes other more general elements. These are associated with the safety of human life or the general interest that States have in the maintenance of, and compliance with domestic and international legislation. All of these aspects need to be taken into account when providing a high-quality maritime safety and marine management approach.

Maritime safety inspection in general, and that of the seaworthiness of vessels in particular, is essentially carried out in our country by the Maritime Authority. It does this by means of the registration and flagging of vessels, and the verification during these procedures of satisfactory conditions of seaworthiness of a vessel. However, the Maritime Authority can now also grant certain inspection and certification powers to partner organisations (Classification Societies). These organisations need to adhere closely to the criteria and guidelines issued by the Administration. To a large extent these criteria determine the scope and content of the original obligation of seaworthiness for newly constructed ships. In this way, the content of inspection activities relating to vessels linked to fulfilment of the obligation of seaworthiness has been broadened compared to early regulations. This has increased the risk of maritime administrative sanctions.

The regulations that govern Inspections of Foreign Vessels in (Spanish or foreign) Ports have been of great importance. They determine the aspects that, administratively speaking, are legally relevant to the obligation of seaworthiness. Among other aspects, they regulate the exercising of sanctioning powers by the Maritime Administration, in the face of possible infractions by foreign vessels with regard to seaworthiness.

These regulations, together with various agreements, international conventions and community directives, are vital. They are the key to knowing exactly what is the scope of seaworthiness of vessels inspections by Port State Control (Port State Control Paris MoU of 1982, the UNCLOS of 1982, and a set of European Parliament and Council Directives).

The most important international convention-related sources relating to maritime safety and security consulted by our inspectors and maritime shipping lawyers when providing their marine services are: the SOLAS Convention; the Torremolinos SFV Convention on the Safety of Fishing Vessels; the ISM Code; and, to a lesser extent, the ISPS Code.

If you would like further information, you can visit the Maritime Shipping Law page. There you will find information on the operation of vessels and marine management services linked to maritime safety, especially: copies of technical reports, expert assessment reports, and any maritime legal opinion (see maritime shipping legal advice).