Newsletter of Portius - International and EU Port Law Centre - Special Issue - Places of Refuge Seminar on 13 October 2010

International and EU Update Seminar on Places of Refuge for Ships in Need of Assistance on 13 October 2010 at Ghent University (Belgium)

On 13 October 2010, Portius is organising an international and EU Update Seminar on Places of Refuge for Ships in Need of Assistance at Ghent University (Belgium). It will be the very first legal event to focus on two major developments in this field: the Draft International Convention on Places of Refuge, adopted by the Comité Maritime International in 2008 and the 2009 amendments to the EU Vessel Traffic Monitoring Directive – containing an elaborate framework for the accommodation of ships in need of assistance in EU waters – which are in the process of being implemented by the European Commission and EU Member States. In addition to these regulatory developments, considerable new in-depth legal research has been performed, leading to two major studies on places of refuge and providing new perspectives on the controversy among lawyers on the existence of the right of access for distressed ships. In addition, an ongoing research project looks into the interrelation between the places-of-refuge problem and the transportation of illegal immigrants and stowaways.

See below for the full programme or go to the 
website which also contains practical information and the registration form.

9h00 Welcome
Prof Dr Eduard Somers, Chairman of the Maritime Institute of Ghent University
9h10 Summary of 'classical' customary international law on places of refuge
Dr Inken von Gadow-Stephani, author of the book Der Zugang zu Nothäfen und sonstigen Notliegeplätzen für Schiffe in Seenot (2006) ('The access to port of refuge and other refuge berths for ships in distress')
9h40 The genesis and general thrust of the CMI Draft Convention on Places of Refuge
Richard Shaw, CMI Rapporteur on Places of Refuge and Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Maritime Law, University of Southampton
10h10 Coffee break
10h40 International and EU law on places of refuge: results of new research on the international law regime of places of refuge, including:
  • right of access and immunity of ships in distress; 
  • liability and financial security issues; 
  • a critical analysis of the CMI Draft Convention and the revised EU Traffic Monitoring Directive
Prof Dr Eric Van Hooydonk, Member of the CMI International Working Group on Places of Refuge and author of Places of Refuge - International Law and the CMI Draft Convention (2010)
12h00 The new EU regime of places of refuge: Are we properly equipped to respond to a new environmental calamity ?
Dirk Sterckx, European Parliament Rapporteur on Places of Refuge
12h20 Lunch

14h20 The Erika case: How does the 2010 Paris court judgment impact on the places-of-refuge regime and further debate ?
Dr Isabelle Corbier, Avocat at the Bar of Paris, France
14h40 The implementation of places-of-refuge policy in the United Kingdom and the impact of the new EU rules on the SOSREP model
Hugh Shaw, Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP), United Kingdom
15h00 Places of refuge and seaborne migrants
Jasmine Coppens, PhD Researcher, Maritime Institute, Ghent University
15h20 Coffee break
15h40 Forthcoming European places-of-refuge initiatives, esp. with regard to financial compensation for ports
Daniel Warin, Policy Officer European Commission, DG MOVE, Maritime transport policy: Regulatory questions, maritime safety & seafarers
16h00 What do shipowners, ports, salvors and environmental NGOs expect from lawmakers ?
Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary-General, European Sea Ports Organisation
Alfons Guinier, Secretary-General, European Community Shipowners’ Associations
Archie Bishop, Legal Advisor, International Salvage Union
Eelco Leemans, Acting Director of The North Sea Foundation, The Netherlands
16h30 Closing address
Etienne Schouppe, Belgian Secretary of State for Mobility
16h40 Free access to Belgian pints of refuge offered by Ghent Port Authority

Port Law Calendar

Portius organises:

Portius recommends:

  • Buenos Aires, 24-27 October 2010
    CMI Colloquium with topics relating to salvage, collisions and the Rotterdam Rules


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Portius is the world's first institution to specialise in the study of the international and EU law of maritime and inland ports, the gateways to global trade. Portius is an independent non-profit academic centre hosted by Ghent University and the College of Europe at Bruges and Warsaw (Natolin). Other main partners are the port authorities of Ghent and Zeebrugge, two major ports in the Scheldt-Rhine Delta, Europe's maritime heartland. Portius is based on a genuinely international and EU-inspired network of port law academics and practitioners and welcomes contributors from all countries. –