Safety of navigation
in The law of the sea
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Most human activities at sea are conducted by or from ships, including the transport of around 90 per cent of all goods that are internationally traded. This chapter focuses on the way in which international law regulates the safety and seaworthiness of ships and the well-being of their crews. It begins by outlining the framework for such regulation, examining the varying roles of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Labour Organization (ILO), flag States (including the law governing the grant of nationality to a ship), coastal States and port States (including their competence to regulate foreign ships visiting their ports). The chapter continues by examining the standards for safety and seaworthiness that have been adopted by the IMO, and the ways in which those standards are implemented and enforced. That includes examination of the IMO’s mandatory audit scheme; the role of port States in inspecting ships and detaining them if they are unseaworthy; and the co-ordination of port State control activities at the regional level. The chapter then turns to examine the measures that have been prescribed by the IMO and ILO to protect and promote the well-being of seafarers, as well as the role of human rights treaties in this regard. The chapter ends by examining ships’ routeing and other measures designed to prevent collisions and ships running aground.

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