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Shipping: Shipping - Law

A guide to find information, literature etc. on the shipping industry

International organizations: international law and shipping

IMO, International Maritime Organization: As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented


IMLI, International Maritime Law Institute (part of IMO): The IMO International Maritime Law Institute was established under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, a specialised agency of the United Nations.
The Institute is an international centre for the training of specialists in maritime law. It also contributes to the development and dissemination of knowledge and expertise in international maritime law, with special reference to the international regulations and procedures for safety and efficiency of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution.


ILO, International Labour Organization: establishes standards of employment and working conditions for e.g. seafarers. The ILO's Maritime Labour Convention, which enters into force worldwide August 20, 2013, provides for the first time comprehensive protection at work for seafarers, while also promoting conditions of fair competition for shipowners.

IMB Piracy Reporting Centre: The main aim of the PRC (Piracy Reporting Centre) is to raise awareness within the shipping industry – which includes shipmasters, ship owners, insurance companies and traders –  of high-risk areas for piratical attacks and specific ports and anchorages associated with armed robberies on board ships.The PRC works closely with various governments and law enforcement agencies and shares information in order to reduce and ultimately eradicate such crime.

Danish Maritime Authority(Søfartsstyrelsen): the Danish Maritime Authority has the responsibility for the following:

  • The construction, equipment and operation of Danish ships (including safety, terror prevention, navigational regulations, manning, occupational health and environmental protection) as well as port State control of foreign ships calling at Danish ports.
  • Ship registration.
  • Seafarers’ employment, health and conditions of social security.
  • Shipping policy, maritime law as well as industrial policy, both nationally and internationally.
  • Tasks related to aids to navigation at sea and ashore (lighthouses and buoys), including ships and repair workshops.
  • Navigational information in the form of navigational analyses, warnings, GIS and specialist publications.
  • The national pilot authority

Legislation concerning the shipping industry

Maritime Law:

  • IMO, International Maritime Organization:
    • IMO's mission is "... to provide machinery for co-operation among Governments in the field of governmental regulation and practices relating to technical matters of all kinds affecting shipping engaged in international trade; to encourage and facilitate the general adoption of the highest practicable standards in matters concerning maritime safety, efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of marine pollution from ship.



  • United Nations Division for Ocean Affaire and Law of the Sea: The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), Office of Legal
    Affairs, United Nations Secretariat, has prepared the present web site in order
    to provide comprehensive information on the Law of  the Sea. Access to databases with information on maritime law etc.


Other Law Sites of Interest:

UNCITRAL, United Nations Commission on International Trade Law : The core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. A legal body with universal membership specializing in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years. UNCITRAL's business is the modernization and harmonization of rules on international business. 

UNCTAD, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: UNCTAD, which is governed by its 194 member States, is the United Nations body responsible for dealing with development issues, particularly international trade.

National authorities and associations:

Danish Maritime Authority (Søfartsstyrelsen):

  • Guide to Who regulates what?
  • Database of rules and regulation: This database contains the rules and regulations that are of relevance in the field of shipping, issued both by the Danish Maritime Authority and other Danish authorities.
    The database is in Danish, but some of the regulations are also available in English. Regulations that have been translated into English can also be found under the headline "Legislation" on this website. Users should be aware that only the Danish version has legal validity.


A link collection to natonal maritime law associations: access to websites of Intergovernmental and International Organizations and with
National Maritime Law Associations.

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