Basic Principles of Maritime Law

ASBA Online Certificate Course

Maritime law regulates the business of carrying cargo and passengers by sea. It is one of the world’s oldest bodies of law, its beginnings arising out of commerce between ancient lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

This distance learning/internet based course provides an introduction to aspects of maritime law of particular interest to the ship broker and/or agent. We hope that a better understanding of relevant aspects of maritime law will enable you to more profitably service your principals.

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  • Introduction to Maritime Law and its Procedure
  • Constitution and Statutory Basis of Admiralty Jurisdiction,
  • Admiralty Jurisdiction: General Considerations,
  • The Sources of Maritime Law,
  • Unique Aspects of the Maritime Law,
  • The Role of the Federal Court,
  • Maritime Arbitration.
  • Carriage Within the Context of International Trade,
  • Common Carriage and Private Carriage,
  • The Contract of Affreightment,
  • Fundamentals of Freight,
  • The Role of Freight Forwarders, Agents, and other Transport Intermediaries,
  • Bills of Lading: Applicable Laws, Function and Use,
  • Himalaya Clauses
  • International Conventions Relating to Carriage of Goods by Sea.
  • Coverage and Application of COGSA and Harter Act,
  • Carrier’s Responsibility before Loading and After Discharge,
  • Delivery of Cargo,
  • Deck Cargo and Other Excluded Cargoes,
  • Exoneration Clauses,
  • The Shipper’s Prima Facie Case,
  • Burdens of Proof and Presumptions,
  • The Duty of the Carrier to Make the Vessel Seaworthy,
  • The Carrier’s Duty, to Properly Load, Handle, etc,
  • Neglect of the Carrier in Navigation or Management, etc.,
  • Fire, Perils of the Sea, Act of God, Act of War, Public Enemies etc.,
  • Faults of the Shipper,
  • Deviation and Fundamental Breach,
  • Limitation of Liability and the Package Problem.
  • Charter Party Law and Practice,
  • Charter Party Forms and Functions,
  • Charter Party Fixtures,
  • The Demise Charter,
  • The Voyage Charter,
  • The Time Charter,
  • Obligation to Provide a Seaworthy Vessel,
  • Care of the Ship and Redelivery,
  • Safe Ports and Berths,
  • Freight, Hire and the Off Hire Clause,
  • Prosecution of the Voyage,
  • Loading and Discharge, Laytime, etc,
  • Frustration and Commercial Impracticality.
  • Maritime Liens, Nature, Creation and Acquisition
  • Liens for Necessaries,
  • Foreclosure and Priority of Claims,
  • Discharge and Extinction of Liens;
  • Rule C Arrest
  • Rule B Attachment
  • Your Agency fees; Brokerage Commissions, etc.
  • Basic Principles (of G.A.),
  • G.A. Procedure and Calculation.
  • Elements of Salvage,
  • Property Subject to Salvage,
  • The Salvage Award,
  • Pure Salvage, Contract Salvage, LOF
  • Law of Finds
  • Additional topics of interest.


5 - 6 hours for each module
Review of lecture (1-2 Hours)
Additional reading assignments (1-2 Hours)
Posting, answering and reviewing questions to/from the professor (1-2 Hours)


Upon registration students will be sent details for registration into online course via CourseSites by Blackboard. Learning will be asynchronous. Each student will select his/her own time for attending the biweekly virtual class (by reading each week’s classroom lecture). Each student must also read any additional assignments for that lesson. Students may be required to answer questions for each lesson and check once the answers have been posted to the site. The professor is available for student questions in each lesson which students will post via CourseSites by Blackboard. Questions and their answers are viewable by all students. ASBA will award a certificate upon successful completion of all coursework and the Final Exam.


Jeffrey A. Weiss 

A Professor at the State University of New York, Maritime College and currently teaches courses in the business of shipping, charter parties, maritime law, marine insurance, and international commercial transactions, among others. He has taught similar courses at the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point and the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture. Professor Weiss has taught courses offered by A.S.B.A. live and via the internet for many years.

Professor Weiss is also an attorney and is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.  Many years ago, Professor Weiss served onboard various American merchant ships as a deck officer. He has also worked shoreside in vessel operations.

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