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Find Lawyers in Spain for Maritime Law

Practice Area Overview

A well-known Spanish definition says that it is the body of law governing the relationships and affairs arising from the sea navigation. The regulatory aspects of the maritime activity and the private aspects of merchant navigation are sometimes interlinked but clearly distinguishable.

The main regulatory Statute on this area is the Consolidated Act on State Ports and Merchant Marine (enacted by Legislative Royal Decree 2/2011, dated September 5) which regulates both the port and navigation activities. At an international level, Spain is a member to the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and many other widely accepted international conventions regulating the navigation activity.

From a private law perspective, Spain has a rather new Shipping Act (enacted by Act 14/2014 dated July 24) which would be the main piece of legislation in the field. This Statute contains some regulatory provisions that deal with ships and their navigation under Spanish waters but its contents are mainly private law issues (e.g. shipbuilding and purchase of vessels agreements, naval mortgages, contracts for the use of vessels, collisions and salvage, oil pollution and limitation of liability, marine insurance, ship arrest, and other procedural provisions related to the shipping activity). Notwithstanding the national scope of this Act, because of the international character of shipping, Article 2 of the Act establishes that the Act will only apply when no international Convention or European legislation be applicable and always paying due regard to the desired uniformity on the application of this branch of the law.

At an international level, Spain is a member to the most important international conventions, such as: the 1999 Convention on Arrest of Ships, the 1993 Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages, the 1989 Convention on Salvage, the 1996 Protocol to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, the 1992 Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC) and the 1992 Fund Convention. In relation to carrier’s liability for international transportation, this is regulated, for passengers, by the 2002 Protocol to the Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea (and by the EC Regulation 392/2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents and by the EU Regulation 1177/2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterways) and, for goods, by the 1924 Convention for the unification of certain rules of law relating to Bills of Lading and its 1968 and 1979 Protocols (the Hague-Visby Rules).

Therefore, the maritime lawyers provide legal advice over a vast field and they will have experience in international law, specifically in national and international maritime shipping law, both from a transactional and litigation standpoint. 
Antonio Quirós de Sas Avante Legal

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Related Practice Areas: Transportation Law
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