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New Clear Seas guide demystifies marine governance


Vancouver – For most Canadians, marine shipping is something that takes place out of sight and over the horizon. Although an estimated 70 to 80% of the goods we use in our daily lives is brought to us by ships, the complex laws and regulations that keep shipping working only get the public’s attention when there’s a dramatic event at sea or there’s a problem with supply chains. Recognizing this lack of awareness, the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping (Clear Seas) commissioned a team at Dalhousie University and the Memorial University of Newfoundland to complete a multi-part project to help increase knowledge of maritime governance in Canada.

The project includes a comprehensive study on Demystifying Maritime Governance – A Primer on the Governance of Shipping with a Focus on Canada, written by Dr. Aldo Chircop, Professor of Law at the Marine and Environmental Law Institute at Dalhousie University and a member of the Clear Seas board of directors.

The study sorts through the conventions, laws, and codes that apply to shipping and how they impact marine trade in Canada and around the world. It looks at issues such as the regulations that govern the dumping of sewage and other waste at sea and, when Canada seeks to assert its sovereignty in the Arctic Ocean, what and who’s agreements determine who has jurisdiction and navigation rights. This detailed overview of maritime governance and its dynamics will help the public and policy makers to understand what is often a convoluted subject.

This important body of work is needed to help support informed decision-making and dialogue on maritime governance among leaders, industry members, Indigenous and coastal communities, and the public,” says Dr. Chircop.

The report includes a series of infographics providing a simple interpretation of some of the legal aspects of shipping, including maritime zones and jurisdictions, as well as governance issues relating to the life cycle of a ship from its design and construction to its dismantling at the end of its working life. (Photo Port of Vancouver)