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Unit information: Maritime Security in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Maritime Security
Unit code LAWDM0126
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Galani
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will examine the evolution of the maritime regulatory framework and in particular, law enforcement activities at sea and the law of shipping interdiction. The regulation of maritime activities has shaped the rights and duties of flag, coastal and port States and the shipping industry, especially in the context of maritime trade. The development of the law of shipping interdiction has proved a significant tool for securing the maritime interests of States, such as fisheries and trade. However, the interdiction of vessels and the detention of crews and cargoes can cause financial damages to shipping companies and inter-state disputes that are especially reviewed in this unit.

The unit will have four thematic areas that focus on human security, national security, marine safety and economic development. In particular, the area of human security focuses on modern piracy, maritime terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and human trafficking. The military activities of NATO, the EU and independent naval forces are also examined. It is the purpose of the second thematic area to examine the impact of military activities, inter-state disputes and naval warfare on national security and discuss how these have shaped international relations. Particular attention is also paid to marine safety and economic development. In particular, ship collision, marine accidents, marine pollution, and dumping are also focused upon. The obligations of the shipping industry and flag States to comply with maritime safety and environmental regulation will be discussed in detail. The concepts of blue economy and oceans governance are also examined in this unit, and attention will be paid to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and sea bed mining. The examination of sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole falls within the aims of this unit.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this module students are expected to be able to:

  1. show a good understanding of the international and EU maritime regulatory framework
  2. engage with the legal and political aspects of maritime security threats, such as piracy, maritime terrorism and IUU
  3. comment on and criticise the rights and duties of flag, coastal and port States and the shipping industry
  4. demonstrate knowledge on domestic and international case law that focuses on inter-state disputes and marine accidents
  5. understand the contribution of the maritime regulatory framework towards improving oceans governance and blue economy

Teaching details

The contact hours for this unit will be 30 hours. This will usually take the form of: 8 lectures, 10 two-hour seminars and 2 assessment preparation and feedback sessions.

Assessment Details

Summative: 2 x 3000 word essays (50% each). Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

Reading and References

  • N Klein, Maritime Security and the Law of the Sea (OUP, 2011)
  • D Guilfoyle, Shipping Interdiction and the Law of the Sea (OUP, 2011)
  • E Papastavridis, The Interception of Vessels on the High Seas: Contemporary Challenges to the Legal Order of the Oceans (Hart, 2013)
  • Y Tanaka, The International Law of the Sea (CUP, 2015)
  • P Koutrakos & A Skordas (eds.), The Law and Practice of Piracy at Sea (Hart, 2014)
  • D Guilfoyle (ed.), Modern Piracy: Legal Challenges and Responses (EE, 2013)
  • J Kraska, Maritime Power and the Law of the Sea: Expeditionary Operations in World Politics (OUP, 2011)