NSA 2511 International Maritime Law


NSA 2511 International Maritime Law

Responsible for the course
Cathrine Bjune

Department of Law

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

The course gives a thorough introduction to International Maritime Law and rules and contracts applicable to shipping. The students will learn about the national and international framework of shipping, jurisdiction and applicable law, and how conventions and standard contracts are made and developed. The course covers flag state laws and port state laws and contracts used for he shipping of goods and passengers.,Important principles of salvage, collision, pollution and environmental aspects of shipping is covered. The students will learn about IMO and the importance of conventions when regulating the international shipping industry. Laws applicable to sea transport, cargo liability, passenger liabilities, collision, salvage and other third party liabilities are covered. Mandatory and non-mandatory rules relating to shipowners' and charterers' liabilities is covered, together with limitation rules and rules relating to maritime liens and mortgages.

Learning outcome
Acquired knowledge
The students will acquire an understanding of the rules relating to the maritime industry and shipping, including:

  • The national and international legal framework of shipping
  • Flag state, port state and contract rules
  • The impact of environmental considerations
  • Standard contracts commonly used in relation to the ship and cargoes
  • Maritime laws and international conventions
  • Shipowners' liabilities in contract and in tort
  • Oil and bunkers pollution
  • Shipowners right to limit liabilities
  • Salvage and collision liabilities
  • Maritime liens and mortgages
  • Jurisdiction and dispute methods

Acquired skills
The course will enable the students to identify and use the laws and regulations in order to:
  • Identify and solve common legal problems related to operation of ships
  • Understand the importance of jurisdiction and choice of law rules
  • Identify the shipowners legal liabilities in contract and in tort
  • How to measure and pay for various liabilities
  • Identify the liable party in a dispute
  • Decide on relevant laws applicable to a dispute involving a shipowner and or carrier
  • Solve practical cases of a maritime nature
  • Interpret commonly used standard contracts such as Bills of Ladings and passenger contracts.
  • The extent of third party liabilities.

The students will learn the complex legal nature of international shipping, and the laws and contracts applicable to ships and ships operations. They will understand why maritime law is considered to be international, and why international rules are important to world trade. The students will be able to reflect on practical cases of a marine nature, and to solve them using relevant laws. They will get an understanding of why we have limitation rules, and how these are applied to individual claims and disputes. The The students will be able to understand and reflect on the importance of common international rules and regulations as a tool for limiting damage to the environment and for increasing the safety of ships. This includes important international maritime conventions, and how they are incorporated into national laws.


Compulsory reading
Falkanger, Thor, Hans Jacob Bull, Lasse Brautaset. 2011. Scandinavian maritime law : the Norwegian perspective. 3rd ed. Universitetsforlaget. Chapters. 1,2,3,6,8,9,10,11,14,17,18,19,20,23

Recommended reading
Branch, Alan E. 2014. Branch's elements of shipping. 9th ed. Routledge

Course outline
  • International Maritime Law - introduction and terminology
  • The Norwegian Maritime Code
  • National laws and international conventions
  • Ship registration and the importance of the flag
  • Shipowners liabilities in contract and tort
  • Carriers liability to cargo
  • Carriers liability to passengers
  • Limitation rules
  • Maritime liens
  • Salvage rules
  • Collision rules
  • Liability for oil and bunkers pollution
  • Liens and mortgages
  • Jurisdiction and dispute resolutions
  • Case work

Computer-based tools

Learning process and workload
The course is conducted through a total of 45 hours of lectures, field trips and casework.

As a part of lectures assignments will be placed on It’s learning. Students are expected to be prepared for class by working with the assignments, as the lecturer will review these assignments in class. Feedback will also consist of the students comparing their solutions with the one that is explained by the lecturer.

Recommended workload in hours
Participation at lectures
Participation at assignment reviews by lecturer
Preparations for lectures (approx. 1.5 hours per hour of lectures or assignment reviews by lecturer)
Work on mandatory mini-exercises (approx. 1 hour per mini-exercise
Preparation for exams
Total recommended time use

    A three-hour individual written examination concludes the course.
    Examination code(s)
    NSA 25111 - Written exam, counts 100% to obtain final grade in NSA 2511 International Maritime Law, 7.5 credits.

    Examination support materials
    The Norwegian Maritime Code in Norwegian or English version and BI approved exam calculator.
    Examination support materials at written examinations are explained under examination information in the student portal @bi. Please note use of calculator and dictionary in the section on support materials (https://at.bi.no/EN/Pages/Exa_Hjelpemidler-til-eksamen.aspx).

    Re-sit examination
    Re-sit is offered every term.

    Additional information