Classification societies are part of the world's safety system on the seas, and currently there are in excess of fifty in operation. Ten of the largest organizations belong to the International Association of Classification Societies. They determine classes and conduct reviews of about 90% of global merchant tonnage engaged in commercial activities throughout the world. The primary aim of the classification system is to improve the safety of human life and goods at sea by ensuring that vessel technical state is adequate. Vessel classification is based on an agreement entered into between the classification institute and the vessel owner. This agreement defines the obligations of the parties and sets forth regulations regarding responsibility. The country of the ship's flag is foremost responsible for safety at sea. Unfortunately, some countries fail at meeting this obligation and do not want or are unable to guarantee that their vessels meet international standards. In order to close this loophole, port inspections were put into force. Countries conducting port inspections of vessels should cooperate with the country of the ship’s flag and classification institutions.
For a long period of time, EU policy regarding petroleum pollution was based on supporting projects undertaken on the international forum and to encourage member states to ratify conventions put forward by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The catastrophe of the tanker Erika, which was sailing under the Maltese flag, indicated that these measures were insufficient. On March 21, 2000, the European Commission introduced a set of legal proposals that was known commonly as the ERIKA I packet. These regulations came into force in June 2003. The European Commission introduced the ERIKA II packet in December 2000, but it met with only partial approval from member states. In accordance with earlier announcements, the ERIKA III packet was introduced on November 23, 2005. This is the subsequent step in creating “a defense mechanism to defend Europe from accidents at sea and from environmental pollution". None of seven proposals has yet to be accepted. The three ERIKA packages comprise a multifaceted response from the EU regarding the growing threat of petroleum pollution.
This article addresses a new type of agreement that entitles classification institutions to execute certain functions of the maritime administration. In the maritime trade, classification institutions, in addition to their classification and assessment activities, are assuming increasingly certain public functions that are executed under the supervision of maritime administration bodies. This supervision is ensured above all by two legal institutions: aprobation and authorization. The significance of the aprobation process for classification institutions may be apparent in the fact that aprobation if conducted by the European Commission. In evaluating the character of the agreement entered into by the Minister of Marine Management with aprobation classification institutions, the author of the article emphasizes a series of particular traits of the agreement that stem from the infiltration of elements of both public and private law. The author postulates the creation of a new category of agreement, that of so-called public contracts.
At the current stage of information technology development there is no need, as yet, to modify Polish norms referring to the maritime transport of cargo. Information technology can be applied without limitation. Therefore, the maritime code modeled on RHV normalizations can remain without alteration and maintain the consistence of solutions in both international and domestic law.
The direct impetus for international cooperation on creating international legislation to regulate the legal status of sea and ocean bottoms lying outside of national jurisdiction was the presentation made at the First UN Committee by the Maltese Ambassador, A. Pardo. In 1967, he called for the establishment of new legal measures for these regions and for them to be recognized as ucommon human heritage. On December 17, 1970, the General Assembly of the UN voted in favor (108 ayes and 14 abstentions) of the declaration of principles regarding sea and ocean bottoms and undergrounds that are outside of national jurisdiction. On December 10, 1982, the UN Convention, which restrictively regulates the exploration and exploitation of deep-sea bottoms, was ratified with a majority of votes from developing nations. On July 28, 1994, the General Assemble of the UN voted in favor of a resolution regarding agreement for the implementation of part XI of the UN Convention on marine law of December 10, 1982 (known as the New York Accord).
Writing a critical analysis of European maritime policy is a challenge. Without taking into consideration past experience and observing present trends, this great undertaking may not produce the desired effects. The picture that presents itself today is one of a variety of different means that are striving to achieve ‘ fragmentary ” goals. The vision of maritime policy, however, must be characterized by cohesion. In her article, the author addresses the so-called Green Book of EU Marine Policy, and this is likely the first Polish publication on this topic. Effective integrated marine policy for the exploitation of marine resources based on maintaining equilibrium between the preservation of the values and goodness of the seas and oceans and meeting the economic needs of many communities must be developed in a timely manner. This is why European maritime policy must concur with the goals of the International Maritime Organization.
The author first analyzes in detail the range and form of normalizations of scientific-technical issues in the new maritime law known as the UN Convention of Montego Bay of 1982. A substantial impetus for the compromise solutions taken in this convention was the divergence of priorities between highly-developed and developing countries that occurred at the III Maritime Law Conference. In the second section of the article, the author discusses and comments on issues of the protection of rights to industrial property according to the principles of the TRIPS accords determined at the Marrakesh round of the GATT-WTO. In his analysis, the author also takes into consideration selected aspects of European Union legislation, the modernizing licensing of transfer technology, and EU policy that supports marine research and the exploitation of the so-called "deep resources”. Thus, the article presents and emphasizes new aspects of maritime scientific-technical cooperation and transfer technology which had yet to be analyzed from this aspect in the Polish legal literature regarding maritime law.
The author defines the following: terrorist act; terrorism; ecological terror; terrorist threats; illegal use of terror; terrorist acts in internal and international law. The article discusses terrorism in light of Polish and European law and ecological safety and terrorism (eco-terrorism). Issues o f ecological safety in Europe were addressed in Helsinki in 1975 at the meeting of nations participating in the Conference on Safety and Co-operation in Europe. In the twenty-first century, the general regulations regarding fighting terrorism are applied to ensure ecological safety. Specifically, this refers to the European convention on fighting terrorism laid out in Strasbourg on January 27, 1977 under the auspices of the Council of Europe. The author addressed the issue of actions taken by radical ecologists within the framework of the activities of non-governmental ecological organizations. Actions of a terrorist character undertaken at sea are also discussed. Establishing a contiguous marine coastal zone is an effective method for fighting terrorism.
The coming into force of the regulations of the ISPS code was cause for significant hope. The new safety system based on the ISPS code created an international framework for cooperation aimed at detecting threats and undertaking appropriate preventative measures within the scope of protecting vessels, ports, and port facilities against potential terrorist attacks. Additionally, the ISPS code should have ensured the effective and rapid flow of all information regarding threats. During the implementation of the new safety system, many legal and practical problems arose which rendered the effectiveness of the system highly doubtful. The continuing inflation of regulations and the bureaucracy of the entire system will lead to the conclusion that the regulations of the ISPS code are de facto a system of 'paper safety' the implementation and maintenance of which are costly and incommensurable to the benefits of applying the new safety standards.
In an effort to fight terrorism, the author proposes applying the visit and search law not only on the high seas but also in territorial waters. This is a controversial viewpoint as current international law does not permit this law to be applied at all in case of terrorist threats. Additionally, territorial waters come under the exclusive jurisdiction of coastal countries. The full implementation into practice of a common, internationally accepted definition of terrorism should not be anticipated in the nearest future. The author of the article discusses the Rome Convention of 1988 on counteracting illegal acts that threaten the safety of ocean-going vessels, which was laid out following the attack staged by Palestinian terrorists on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in October 1985.
Organized security groups are operational on board some commercial vessels. These are professional units comprised of personnel whose only duties are to ensure that the overall physical safety of the vessel is maintained. Since maritime law does not take a position regarding such services, it can be concluded that the formation and maintenance of them is legal. Nevertheless, in order for potential actions taken by such groups to be acknowledged as legal, they must not exceed repelling direct attacks on the guarded vessel. It is not likely that attempts will be made in the nearest future to bring this issue under the detailed regulation of international law. The principles guiding the actions o f security groups are governed by the laws of the country of the ship’s flag. The role of the security officer has increased significantly within the hierarchy of the ship’s command. On the majority of large passenger vessels this is now a full-time position, and the person in charge of security is directly subordinate to the captain.
The aim of this article is not to consider the need for the ratification of specific international agreements, but it is rather an attempt to determine the consequences of potential ratification with respect to the contents of maritime code regulations. It seems that reference to the resolutions of a given convention by maritime code regulations is generally a better solution. This permits avoiding distortion in the content of international agreements. Nonetheless, these principles should not be applied always or arbitrarily. It may occur that, in a specific instance, it is better to try to incorporate the resolutions of a given convention into the contents of the maritime code. The fundamental conclusion drawn by the author of the article is that there is no need to change the maritime code when new international conventions are ratified.