The paper will discuss the definition of a ship based on maritime law. Lawyers make a big deal out of the definition of a ship because of its importance in shipping law which is within the commerce of men. The definition of a ship is a topic that is being debated by lawyers since it can affect their client’s social and economic life such as the businessmen and traders all over the world. At the same time, the definition of a ship within the ambit of maritime law shall provide the accountabilities of ship owners to the shipper, and will involve the activities of a ship. The lawyers want to establish a clear definition of a ship in order to clearly provide the ship owner’s liabilities for disasters and other perils of the sea that may take place. These measures had been taken the international community for the prevention of mishaps and accidents while the vessels are in transit. The importance of the shipping law was also explained for it is an important element of our global economy and its ability to provide for the efficient movement of people and goods across various parts of the world.
Keywords: ship, maritime, international community, sea peril and global economy.
The definition of ship is may be the source of an argument among laws since it a term that is covered by maritime law. The term “ship” is not just important for lawyers but the entire shipping industry. The definition of a ship must be expressed in clear terms because it can be a subject of a contract between the ship owner and the shipper of goods. At the same time, the ship can also be the subject of an insurance contract. Thus, the lawyer’s can have clients who may be ship owners, shippers, insurance companies and insurance agents. The definition of a ship is a topic that is being debated by lawyers since it can affect their client’s social and economic life such as the businessmen and traders all over the world. At the same time, the definition of a ship within the ambit of maritime law shall provide the accountabilities of ship owners to the shipper, and will involve the activities of a ship. The lawyers want to establish a clear definition of a ship in order to clearly provide the ship owner’s liabilities for disasters and other perils of the sea that may take place.
The ship is defined as an outsized floating watercraft that can be used rivers, lakes and seas for the purpose of transporting people and goods activities, public safety, entertainment, war fare among others. The lawyers argue on the scope and activities of ships to be able to establish the liabilities of the ship owners or ship agents in case of there is a damage or delay in the transport of goods and passengers. These ships were developed also in order to promote humanity such by preventing any armed conflicts within the military systems of every country. The lawyers see the importance of defining the word “ship” since such definition will provide regulatory measures for military vessels used during combat and some fishing boats that are internationally being used by fishermen across the world.
Ships and vessels are also important for every country’s military forces since they are being used during combat operations and provide support. The ship must also be defined in order to know its shipping capacity and the number of tons of cargo it can carry. These ships can also be the source of obligations and contracts that are being argued by lawyers when cases for breach of contract are filed in court. Not only are these ships essential for being part of history and great explorations, but also in the field of scientific and technological development.
These lawyers can have different clients such as navigators, inventors, discoverers, and explorers. Hence, ship has to be defined in express and accurate terms to be able to provide the scope and coverage of its liabilities to transport all kinds of goods that may be used in the ordinary business transactions of the people to identify in which jurisdiction the ship will fall. As the ship sails in its ordinary course and trade, there are cases where in it can contain prohibited contraband, drug paraphernalia and even gunpowder.
Lawyers make a big deal on the ship’s definition since it can be used as a tool for the purpose of colonization and slave trade, aside from the scientific and humanitarian aspect involved. Lawyers have to protect and promote the interest of their clients. Thus, the ship, being a part of maritime transport, can affect the economic activities across the globe. Further, the economic activities around the world can also play a significant role in the economic growth and success of every nation.
At the same time, the ships can affect the growth of international trade and commerce. The ships are vital in international shipping, as an essential element of our global economy. The lawyers see the need to define the nature and condition of the ships in order to guarantee that they are not only sea worthy. Another purpose is to provide an efficient movement of people and goods across different parts of the world. The shipping law governs the economic activities of ships and sea vessels that are income generating. In fact, the shipping industry has been identified as the one which is primarily responsible for at least 90 percent of world trade and plays a significant role in world commerce (Nast, 2013, p.9). The present intercontinental trade is dependent on the proficient transport system of ships that carries affordable food and consumer goods as well as raw and bulk materials to factories, traders and manufacturers. The lawyers protect the interest of their clients, such as the ship owners and owners of these sea vessels. Thus, the success of intercontinental trade greatly depends on the participation of the ocean shipping sector (Nast, 2013).
Lajeunesse (2012, p. 521) argued that for some of the international shippers and underwriters, the uncertain and dangerous conditions in the sea can create a challenge for the whole shipping industry. Hence, lawyers deemed it fit to define the scope of the ship, its responsibilities, liabilities, and expectations which fall within the coverage of maritime law. The international shipping relies on the kind of system that provides a just in time delivery with tight schedules and makes little room for uncertainty (Lajeunesse, 2012, p.21). Therefore, the lawyers must also account for the risks such as weather conditions, perils of the sea and other fortuitous events while the goods are in transit, to assess the liabilities of the ship owners.
Although there are time tables being set by the shipper and owner of the goods, there are some unpredictable events such as ice and weather that prevent captains from maintaining a consistent speed and course of the ship in even during favourable conditions (Lajeunesse, 2012, p.21). There are some delays and interruptions that can take place even while the vessel waits for the conditions to improve. However, the cargo ship will still pursue its course and be in transit by following a certain schedule. In addition to the apparent physical difficulties and dangers posed by the perils of the sea, some insurance companies charge extremely high insurance premiums to cover the risks on the goods in transit as well as the vessel.
According to Dick (2008, p.387), shipping law is important since it covers the central planning approach to maritime transport which may carry with it some adverse outcomes. One of these outcomes involves the ship owners who are expected to perform their trade and business in the course maritime commerce. At the same time, there are instances when the government fails to monitor the maritime activities which have the tendency to delay the transport of the goods due to fortuitous events, acts of God and deliberate acts of man. The ship owners’ autonomy also required them to apply for permits, licenses, importation of a new ship or change the course of the ship’s route, which can be the subject of an argument that is filed on court. At this instance, some ship owners can also bribe their way around the mass of inconsistent and unworkable regulations in order to favourable decisions in court. In such instance, it can cause a wide-ranging effect on the entire maritime industry.
Dick, H. 2008, “The 2008 Shipping Law: Deregulation or Re-Regulation?”, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, 44, 3, pp. 383-406.
Lajeunesse, A. 2012, “A New Mediterranean? Arctic Shipping Prospects for the 21st Century”, Journal of Maritime Law & Commerce, 43, 4, pp. 521-537.
Nast, T. 2013, “The Response of the International Shipping Industry to Global Climate Change”, Journal of Maritime Law & Commerce, 44, 1, pp. 29-45.
Power, V.G. 2014, “The Historical Evolution of European Union Shipping Law”, Tulane Maritime Law Journal, 38, 2, pp. 311-361.