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The IMO International Maritime Law Institute is an international centre for the training of specialists in maritime law and the development and dissemination of knowledge and expertise in the international legal regime of merchant shipping and related areas of maritime law and the general law of the sea. Special emphasis is given to the international regulations and procedures for furthering the purposes and objectives of the International Maritime Organisation as a specialised agency of the United Nations. The Institute provides suitably qualified persons, particularly from the developing countries, with high-level facilities for advanced training, study and research in international maritime law and legislation for the regulation of international shipping. It encourages research and other appropriate programmes for enhancing the contribution of maritime law and legislation, and the effective global implementation of treaties and other international instruments, to the attainment of the international goal of improved safety at sea, efficiency in maritime navigation and related activities and the prevention of marine pollution. Finally, the Institute encourages the improvement and dissemination of knowledge and skills in international maritime law and maritime legislation to deal with new demands in international shipping and in maritime affairs in general. Back To Contents.
Contribution by The Government Of Malta
Under an Agreement concluded between IMO and the Government of Malta, the Government kindly agreed to provide facilities for the establishment of the Institute in Malta. In particular, the Government agreed to make available to the Organisation, free of charge, premises and related facilities for use by the Organisation for the purposes of the Institute or in connection with such purposes. The premises includes flats for the use of at least 20 students and three visiting professors of the Institute. the premises and flats are equipped with supplies of electricity, water and appropriate installations for toilets, hygiene and sewage disposal. The Government also agreed, at the request of the Secretary- General, to make available such additional premises and related facilities (including the extension or adaptation of buildings, building parts, facilities and auxiliary devices) as are reasonably required for the legitimate needs of the Institute, on the same terms and conditions. The Government agreed to bear all costs of maintenance and repairs of the building and facilities provided for the Institute. The Agreement also regulates other matters, including the privileges, immunities, facilities and courtesies to be accorded to officials of IMO, the personnel of the Institute and other persons performing functions for or on behalf of the Institute in Malta. Back To Contents.
Malta abounds in history and culture and is blessed by a mild and congenial Mediterranean climate. It is a small island of 300 square kilometers with a small population of 380,000 known for its friendliness and hospitality. Malta's numerous archeological sites bear witness to an intriguing prehistoric era stretching well beyond Phoenician times interlacing the cultures and civilisations that swept the Mediterranean and which have all left their visible marks. The Carthaginians, the Romans, the Arab Empire, the Normans, the Knights of St.John of Jerusalem, the French and the British have all left a legacy to posterity and which altogether make Malta so unique. Malta became independent in 1964 and has always had its own Judiciary, its own Laws, its own Civil Service and its own Medical School. It is within easy reach of any country in Europe and the world. There are daily flights to Rome and London and several flights a week to all major cities in Europe. Sicily can be reached by a fast hydrofoil and three times a week, by a passenger/ro-ro liner. All this makes Malta an ideal site for an international centre and seat of learning. From time immemorial, Malta's destiny has been intimately linked to the sea. Its strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean - coupled with its excellent, deep and sheltered harbours - has been mainly responsible for Malta's development as a maritime centre. Its harbours provided a safe and useful haven on the major sea-routes and established Malta as a major entrepot for trade and an important bunkering station. Within the Mediterranean, maritime navigation, trade and commerce have flourished under the influence of widely accepted and respected rules of maritime law, at times codified such as the Consolato del Mare. Malta's maritime role has ensured that the study and practice of maritime law has flourished amongst the island's legal profession. Indeed, it is this legal tradition which contributed to the formulation of the Maltese initiative at the 1967 United Nations General Assembly that culminated in the adoption of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Malta also hosts the Regional Oil Combatting Centre, established under the Mediterranean Action Plan of UNEP and administered by IMO. Back To Contents.
Administration and Finance
The Institute is administered under the supervision, control and direction of a Board of Governors. The Resident Faculty consists of a Director, a maritime law specialist of international renown with considerable teaching experience, and a Deputy Director, a maritime lawyer with specialised experience in the drafting of maritime statutes, rules and regulations. The Institute is assisted by visiting professors who lecture in the subjects of their specialisations. The requisite administrative and secretarial staff, small in number, is also provided. The entire running costs of the Institute, apart from those covered by the Government of Malta, in terms of the Agreement between that Government and IMO, are met by voluntary funds. These are estimated at UKú 425,000 per annum. No financial contributions are made from the assessed budget of IMO. In brief, the model of the World Maritime University were the basis for the administrative and financial management of the Institute. Back To Contents.
Course in International Law - The needs met
One of the essential requirements for operating a shipping or maritime programme is the ability to implement international conventions and instruments adopted by IMO and other relevant international organisations. For this purpose States need to have appropriate legal infrastructure which incorporates the provisions of the respective conventions and instruments into national law and which has well-established procedures for applying and enforcing the requirements of the applicable law in all relevant situations. The appropriate legal infrastructure in each State should consist of an up-to-date legislative regime, with a suitable machinery for the review, revision and modification of that legislation, to keep it in line with changes in international maritime law and developments in marine technology and shipping practices. For this purpose the State, as well as the shipping industry, requires the services of well-trained legal personnel with specialisation in maritime and shipping law. There is also need for persons with expertise and skills in the preparation and drafting of legislative instruments, including the preparation of primary legislation (codes, statutes, etc.) as well as the necessary subsidiary legislation (regulations and rules) for implementing the principal instruments at State and industry levels. Although many developing countries have reasonable numbers of legally trained persons, they do not always have the required numbers of persons with the necessary specialisation or expertise in maritime law. To meet these needs, IMO has included, as a vital part of its technical cooperation programme, projects for the provision of technical advice and assistance in maritime law and legislation. Under this programme, advice and assistance have been provided on request to States on the planning and preparation for new or updated maritime legislation. Such advice and assistance have been provided by IMO's interregional advisers or, where appropriate, by short-term consultants or experts recruited in consultation with the Government concerned. Interregional advisers prepare their recommendations after one or several short visits to the countries, while consultants and experts are recruited for relatively longer periods, usually between three to six months' duration. While advisory services along these lines have been useful to many States, it is generally recognised that such assistance can only be of limited benefit and cannot provide an effective long-term answer to the needs of these countries. What each developing country needs is not only a good maritime law regime, but also a reasonable cadre of national legal personnel who are available to oversee, on a systematic basis, the implementation of existing law, to review and evaluate the provisions and arrangements for their implementation, to advise on the need for new or revised laws and regulations and, as necessary, to prepare suitable texts for consideration and adoption by the relevant legislative bodies. This is a crucial role which must necessarily be discharged on a continuous basis if it is to be effectively discharged. It is therefore a need which cannot be met by occasional visits of advisers, or even by experts who can only stay for limited periods. Back To Contents.
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