Tara Leiter, an attorney at Blank Rome LLP, collaborated with John A.C. Cartner (United States Coast Guard shipmaster and lawyer) and Richard P. Fiske (retired U.S. naval captain and attorney with John Cartner at Cartner & Fiske LLC) to author the recently released legal treatise The International Law of the Shipmaster. Released in the IMO’s declared Year of the Seafarer, the book is designed to identify and explain the complexity of the legal position faced daily by today’s shipmasters and serves as a ready reference tool and guide to “shipmaster law.” The team claimed that no similar book has been written since the 14th edition of Abbott on Shipping in 1912.
“There are countless circumstances under which the shipmaster can incur liability and not a single legal resource in nearly one hundred years outlines the vast majority of those liabilities for most maritime nations under one cover” said Leiter. “In this increasingly litigious world, the shipmaster must constantly be aware of his duties and obligations, at law and in practice, to his ship’s owners, P&I Clubs, shippers, charterers, flag state, port states, coastal states, crewmembers, and managers, among others.”
The book is divided into three parts. The first part comprises a survey of international law as it relates to the master, and introduces the law of the shipmaster in historical, social and practical context and the international law affecting the master. The second part addresses the substantive doctrines of law governing the shipmaster and the legal powers, rights and duties of the master, as well as their obligations for the safety of the vessel, cargo, the environment and crew. The final part considers the statutes governing the shipmaster for each of the 195 maritime flag states, functionality of governments, stability and rule of law for most states.
Tara L. Leiter is a U.S. and U.K. (pending) licensed lawyer and received her Masters of International Maritime Law from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute in Malta, EU. She practices corporate law and U.S. and international maritime and admiralty law at Blank Rome LLP in Washington, DC. She is a member of the Maritime Law Association and WISTA- USA (Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association).