Maritime Conference - Introduction - History & Objectives of the Institution

The International Conference of Maritime Law is being organized by the Piraeus Bar Association every three years in the city of Piraeus from 1992 onwards.

It falls within the context of the multifaceted and important work of the Piraeus Bar Association, which, since its foundation under Law 1866/1920as a public law legal person, does not confine itself to the professional matters of its members, but it also creates appropriate conditions for the highlighting of matters concerning the legal world of the country, matters of protection of the democratic institutions, the protection of the environment, the promotion of the legal culture and the improvement of the political and social standards, the preservation of moral identity and the protection of the national integrity.  

The Institution Ratione Personae

The institution of the International Conference of Maritime Law was inspired by the late Professor of Commercial and Maritime Law in the Law School of Athens and attorney-at-law at the Piraeus Bar Association, Anthony M. Antapassis (6/7/1941-29/4/2013) and the President of the Piraeus Bar Association in 1992, Vasileios Venetis.

1st International Conference of Maritime Law (1992)

Following the decision of the Piraeus Bar Association and the presidency of Vasileios Venetis, the 1st International Conference of Maritime Law was held on 28-30 May 1992 and dealt particularly with the protection of maritime creditors.

The choice of this subject was made in a period when the matter of the revision of the Greek maritime legislation had been agitated, the elaboration of new international conventions regarding the arrest of ships and the maritime liens and mortgages was already in progress within the International Maritime Organization, while in the context of the former European Economic Community, the debate on the regulation of the regime regarding the liens and the study of the institutions which provide for the protection of maritime creditors, had been activated. These parameters made the subject of the protection of maritime creditors an appropriate choice for an International Conference of Maritime Law, especially during that period so that its examination was based on scientists of significant legal speech from various countries, who responded with overwhelming enthusiasm. 

2nd International Conference of Maritime Law (1995)

The 2nd International Conference of Maritime Law, which was held on 25-27 May 1995, dealt with the ship’s operation and the freedom of contracts. Its main purpose was to explore the freedom of the parties

in the various categories of contracts regarding the services provided by or to the ship or the financial use of the ship, to clarify the reasons justifying the different level of freedom of the parties in these contracts and to examine whether the limitation of freedom of contracts due to introduction of mandatory rules is the most adequate solution or whether other/additional solutions need to be explored.

3rd International Conference of Maritime Law (1998)

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. 

4th International Conference of Maritime Law (2001)

The 4th International Conference of Maritime Law was held on 6-9 June 2001 and examined the liability to pay damages under Greek and International maritime law.

As had happened in each former event in the context of this institution, the choice of the subject was based on modern reflections and this subject was chosen with a view to the presentation of the matter of the compensation for damages in maritime law from a dynamic aspect. This Conference examined, especially from a legislative point of view, the liability to pay damages in the maritime field as an international problem, under Greek and International maritime law. The ship sails permanently at sea, it passes often from one legal system to another. Shipping is universal. Despite the admirable technical progress, the perils of navigation are always appreciable. Marine insurance has been greatly developed because of them. These factors imposed the formulation of special rules and principles in the maritime field concerning the liability to pay damages. In spite of the fact that these special rules come into force in the legal system of every maritime country, they have common characteristics, though they demonstrate great resistance to developments.

5th International Conference of Maritime Law (2004)

The 5th International Conference of Maritime Law on maritime pollution was held from 29 September to 2 October 2004. The examination of the issue of liability to pay damages under Greek and International maritime law which was the subject of the 4th International Conference of Maritime Law, organized by the Piraeus Bar Association- proved that the compensation for damages of third parties arising from pollution caused by ships or other floating constructions and especially the environmental damage, as well as the matter of sanctions (penal and administrative), should be subjected to more thorough research and dialogue, especially because the relevant decisions of the judicial and administrative authorities often cause complaints from  the ship interests and the maritime industry interests.

6th International Conference of Maritime Law (2007)

The subject of the 6th International Conference of Maritime Law, held on 4-6 October 2007, was the modern issues related to the marine insurance. The marine insurance has a close connection with the maritime commerce. This is why it constitutes one of the most ancient ways of protection of the maritime businessmen from losses due to maritime risks.

7th International Conference of Maritime Law (2010)

The 7th International Conference of Maritime Law (30 September to 2 October 2010) examined the comparative and international aspects of the legal status of seafarers. This topic is of great interest not only on national but also on international level especially because of the ongoing increase of the flags of “convenience” in open registries, the employment on the ships of seafarers who are less and less connected with the flag of the ship’s state, as they originate from other countries, the creation of traditional maritime countries with a second register, where there are registered ships performing international voyages. On these ships as well as on those which are registered in Greece as foreign capitals, are employed on a broader scale, seafarers paid according to the salaries of their country of origin. These factors have weakened the significance of the law of the flag of the ship, they have practically influenced the legal status of the seafarers on an international level as well as the relevant social welfare and insurance, a fact that has caused many reactions.

8th International Conference of Maritime Law (2013)

The 8th International Conference of Maritime Law had various challenges to deal with: the sudden loss of Professor A. Antapassis, the particularly adverse economic condition, the scientific and social withdrawal of the country that also afflicted the maritime community, the lack of sponsorship, the need for renewal. 

The administration of the Pireaus Bar Association reacted vigorously, demonstrating, more than any other time, its trust to the institution of the Conference and its will to retain (and to develop) the added value of the conference. It proceeded to a renewal of the Organizing Committee to a great extent, combining the experience of older members with the suggestions of the newer ones.

CONTACT / REGISTRATIONS

Information - Registrations: Nomiki Bibliothiki, www.nb.org 

Eleni Stefanidi, Tel.: 210 3678858, E-Mail stefanel@nb.org 

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