International Law and Legislative Compliance for Mariners

Course Description

This course explores the basic foundations of International Law: its nature, history, theoretical underpinnings, and the players that make it all happen, such as states, international organizations, non-governmental groups, and corporations. In addition, because the Law of the Sea is a specialized area of International Law, much of this course will be devoted to the laws and regulations as they apply to the merchant mariner, including the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); International Safety Management (ISM) Code; Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) and the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Finally, this course will explore the basic requirements in training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level.

This course consists of three 1-hour classes a week for a semester and a comprehensive final exam.

Learning Objectives

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following STCW elements:


  1. IMO – Review of history, structure and subject matter within the purview of this IGO
  2. SOLAS Convention
    1. History
    2. General provisions
      1. Certificates
      2. Application
    3. Summary of significant chapters
      1. Chapter I – General
      2. Chapter III – Lifesaving appliances
    4. Includes selected US implementing legislation - CFR
      1. Chapter V – Safety of Navigation iv. Chapter XI-2 Maritime Security / ISPS Code
    5. Includes US implementing legislation – MTSA, CFR, VSP
      1. Chapter IX – Management for the Safe Operation of Ships ISM Code / SMS
    6. Includes overview of implementation in US via SMS
      1. NTSB case studies illustrating lapses in ISM/SMS
  3. MARPOL Convention
    1. Annex I
      1. Includes overview of US implementing regs CFR
        1. SOPEP and VRP
      2. Overview of OPA ‘90
        1. Responsible party
        2. Damages
    2. Annex V
      1. Includes overview of US implementing regs CFR
    3. Annex VI
      1. Includes overview of US regs / USCG-EPA EIAPP / IAPP Certificates and process
  4. Int’l Ballast water convention
    1. Overview of US regs pertaining to ballast water management, recordkeeping, operational requirements
  5. Maritime Labor Convention – ILO
    1. Overview of convention
    2. Certificate of compliance US
    3. OSH; risk management
  6. STCW
    1. Overview of watchkeeping / training regulations
    2. Work hours

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