The 3rd International Conference on Maritime Law, which was held on 27-30 May 1998, was dedicated to “the legal aspects of maritime accident” and intended to explore the legal provisions regarding the maritime accident’s prevention, consequences and ways of treatment.
The choice of this subject was made due to the increased importance of the rules regulating the prevention and the limitation of maritime accidents. The rules in question derive both from international and from national rules. However, the ever-increasing multitude of laws, as well as the complexity of the matters (both from legal and from practical aspect) induced concern about the legal uncertainty that could be caused. For this reason it was considered that efforts should be made for the systematization of the statutes and for their development and application in the context and with the assistance of an international organization. International Maritime Organization would be ideal to carry out this task, given its very broad acceptance by the international community, its specialized knowledge of maritime matters and its interstate character.
The conference was divided into three extended thematic sections.
The first section examined the prevention of maritime accidents, that is the legislative and regulatory provisions regulating the safety of the ship and the safety of navigation, as well as the matter of their application in practice.
In the second session took place the analysis of the way of treatment of a maritime accident after it has occurred as well as more specific matters arising out of it, such as the obligation to provide assistance, the organizing and coordination of the rescue services, the intervention of the coastal state etc.
Finally, the third session dealt with the accidents’ consequences and the civil, administrative and penal measures of treatment.
In the context of the Conference the following papers were presented:
The first session of the Conference was chaired by Mr Ioannis Schinas, Professor of Commercial Law at Democritus University of Thrace. Jacques de Dieu, envoy of the Maritime Safety, Environment and Technical Issues Department of the European Commission presented “The strategy for high quality shipping”, Iosif Tsalaganidis, President at the Piraeus Court of First Instance, on “The administrative review of maritime accident”, of Philippe Boisson, communications manager of Bureau Veritas, presented “The adoption and application of the legal regime concerning maritime safety” and Efthimios Mitropoulos, Director of the Department of Maritime Safety of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) analysed “The code for the investigation of maritime accidents and incidents”.
The second afternoon session was chaired by Foivos Christodoulou, Professor of Comparative Law at the University of Athens, and four speakers spoke successively: Marc Huybrechts, Professor of Maritime Law at the Universities of Leuven and Antwerp, elaborated the subject “The International Code of Safe Ship Management and its application on ferries and passenger ships – From the minimization of human omission to the achievement of the objective”, Lia Athanasiou, Dr.iur. - Attorney-at-law, examined “The problem of competition and of liability of classification societies– An aspect for maritime accident” and Sergio Carbone and Francesco Munari from the University of Genoa presented “The Community policy for the safety of the marine port area and the territorial waters: Regulations and perspectives”.
At the second day of the Conference and at the session chaired by Jean-Jacques Lavenue, Professor of Law of the Sea and of Maritime Activities at the University of Lille, Antoine Vialard, Professor at the University of Montesquieu presented “The obligation to provide assistance at sea”, Richard Shaw, Special scientific Researcher at the University of Southampton, presented “The International Convention on Salvage, 1989: Its dynamic and weaknesses”, Peter Wetterstein, Professor at Åbo University of Finland presented “Marine Salvage and marine environment”, while Mr Nikolaos Konstantinidis, Dr.iur. - Attorney-at-law, closed the session with his paper “Matters arising from shipwrecks situated in marine port area”. The Conference continued in the afternoon with the next session, chaired by the Professor of Maritime Law at the University of Texas, Michael Sturley. Polychronis Tsiridis, Dr.iur. - Attorney-at-law, presented his paper “The criminal approach of maritime accidents”, while Professor of International Law at the University of Athens Emmanouil Roukounas followed up on “Matters of International Law concerning maritime accidents“. Subsequently, Professor of Maritime Law and Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University, Edgar Gold presented his paper “Liability and compensation for marine pollution: pursuit of realistic balance”.
The third and last day of the Conference, started with the session chaired by Professor of Civil Law and former Rector of the University of Athens Michail Stathopoulos. Aliki Kiantou-Pampouki, Professor Emeritus at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, made a presentation on “Matters of civil liability due to maritime accident”. Following, Rolf Herber, Attorney-at-law in Hamburg, examined “Joint liability in case of serious maritime accidents”, Panagiotis Sotiropoulos, Member of the Executive Board of Comité Maritime International elaborated a presentation on “The limitation of liability for claims from maritime accident”, while the lectures closed with the presentation of Anthony Antapassis, Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Athens and Chairman of the Hellenic Maritime Law Association on “General approach of the maritime accident as a legislative problem”. The Conference was completed with a general discussion and the conclusions of the Conference. Exceptionally, the papers and the minutes of this Conference have not been published.
Board of Directors of the Piraeus Bar Association
V. Venetis President, G. Apostolidis Vice President, K. Petalas Secretary General, A. Alexandropoulou-Alevromyti Treasurer, Members: G. Georgatos, I. Giatrakos, K. Gkaveras, K. Gourgarea, P. Iliadis, L. Theodorou, E. Kotsonis, I. Lymperopoulos, G. Stamatogiannis, S. Manousakis, P. Mantouvalos, M. Melissinos, Pan. Papatheodoropoulos, G. Savvopoulos, E. Tsouroulis.
Organizing Committee of the Conference
A. Antapasis President, Members: N. Skorinis, N. Gogios, G. Timagenis, P. Sioufas, G. Rediadis, A. Papadimitriou, L. Athanasiou, Th. Zafeiras, S. Kousoulis, G. Bairaktaris, N. Mpaltazanis, D. Astras, K. Markakis, P. Tsiridis, I. Iriotis, N. Konstantinidis, G. Oikonomou, S. Giannakakis, P. Pappas, I. Oikonomidis.
P. Asanakis, E. Veneti, O. Vlavianou, P. Theodoropoulos, O. Iosifidis.