International Regulation of Shipping is an applied course in public international law. First, it examines the legal framework governing jurisdiction over ships in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its relationship to the conventions and work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN specialized agency responsible for regulation of international shipping. Second, it examines the processes whereby the IMO and other international institutions establish universally-accepted international rules and regulations governing merchant ships engaged in international shipping. Third, it examines the processes, procedures and mechanisms designed to ensure that flag States and port States effectively fulfill their international obligations so that international shipping, which carries more that 90% of the world’s trade, is safe and secure and does not pollute the marine enviroment.
The international regulation of shipping is of great importance to Singapore. Singapore is major port State and transhipment hub, with about 1000 vessels in port every day. Singapore is the top bunkering (refueling) port in the world. Singapore is also a major flag State, as the Singapore ship registry is among the top ten in the world. Singapore is an active member of the IMO, and has been elected as a member of its Council every year since 1993. Singapore is also a strong proponent of the rules-based legal order established in the 1982 UNCLOS, which guarantees passage rights for ships through the choke points in sea lanes of communication through Southeast Asia. Consequently, this course should be of interest to persons who intend to work in the maritime sector in Singapore or elsewhere.