CUHK to Host The Law of Wreck Seminar on 21 April 2017

The Chinese University of Hong Kong invites you to attend a seminar on “The Law of Wreck” by Prof. Craig Forrest, Director of the Marine and Shipping Law Unit at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, which will be held on 21 April 2017 (Friday) from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, at LT1 of GLC (2/F., Bank of America Tower, Central).

It is likely that the first ship ever launched sank; and they have been sinking ever since. While maritime law adapted very quickly to encourage the recovery of ships, or more often, their valuable cargo, through salvage law, this was applied to shallow wrecks close to states. Deeper wrecks were ignored; so too was any consideration of their place in the evolving law of the sea. Without the technology to reach deeper wrecks, the jurisdictional complexities that apply to ships at sea were not applied to wrecks. When, in 1967, the largest crude carrier of its day, the Torrey Canyon, sank spilling its cargo over the beaches of Britain and France, the law hurried to catch up and a flourish of maritime conventions followed; but not one on wreck. That took another 30 years when, in 2007, the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (Nairobi Convention) was adopted.

By then, the technology allowed the deepest wrecks to be reached and those of past millennia were being discovered. The law that applied to contemporary wrecks was quickly recognised as problematic when applied to historic wrecks, and an attempt was made to structure a new intentional regime to protect these wrecks from those who sought to recover them for their intrinsic value. The UNESCO Convention of the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage was adopted to do this. This convention has, however, been problematic and a number of key states have not ratified it.

These two key developments, the Nairobi Convention and the UNESCO Convention, both address an aspect of the law of wreck that salvage law does not. This presentation will range across of a number of problematic areas at this convergence of the law of wreck.

For participation, please register at before 9:00am on 21 April 2017.