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The seaworthiness of merchant ships plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of life and property and the prevention of marine pollution. It deals with the fitness and readiness of a ship and its fundamental ability to sail safely to its destination. The standards of seaworthiness extend to literally all aspects of a ship, including the human element, physical structure, documentation, cargo worthiness and so on. It is one of the most complicated concepts in the maritime regulatory regime, and it takes many forms. However, although one of the most important terms in maritime transportation and ship management, seaworthiness is not an absolute concept, but a relative one, dependent on the particular environment, context and facts, and the standards of seaworthiness have changed greatly with the introduction of new maritime regulations over the years.
The existing literature on seaworthiness is found within a variety of dedicated articles or book chapters. This book summarizes all that information in one publication and provides an update on key books that are now more than a decade old. In addition, it also offers more detail on specific aspects that are rarely discussed on their own. The reader will gain an understanding of the constituent features which colour its application in sovereign jurisdictions, where each have their own, often conflicting, social or geopolitical priorities to meet. Each chapter relies heavily on case studies to illustrate how the laws which reflect private laws and national policy underpinning those priorities are applied in practice. This structure then enables an understanding of the problems in the carriage of goods by sea, with a view to offering options for solutions.
The book is written to meet the needs of lawyers, maritime professionals and academics, to thoroughly explain the concept of seaworthiness and the relevant legal issues.