Shipping is "the world's first genuinely global industry". In the majority of ocean-going commercial ships' enterprises a multi-national network of actors is involved, including but not limited to registered owner, the beneficial owner, the manager and operator of a ship or of the fleet of ships, the Flag-State of the ship, the classification societies, the insurers and P&I Clubs, governmental Maritime Authorities, and multi-national crews who work and live onboard ships.
In view of the multiple laws, countries, authorities and entities that have a word in the operation of shipping enterprises, it became very early necessary for the international shipping community to issue and enforce rules and regulations which will apply internationally. Shipping was thus one of the first industries to be regulated through international, and later through European, legal instruments, on all aspects of the industry, including construction of ships, navigation, safety, protection of the environment, working conditions etc..
Although shipping safety has greatly improved during the last decades, seafaring remains one of the most dangerous professions, and both the fatality and serious personal injury rate is much higher (some ten times higher or more) than the fatality and serious personal injury rate in the general workforce. At the same time, maritime accidents involving cruise and other type passenger ships involving usually a big number of victims, have far from extinguished.
Maritime personal injury and wrongful death claims are in most cases “cross-border” cases, with multi-national elements and aspects, which apart from the international and European regulations always involve national laws, rules and procedures of various, often conflicting, jurisdictions.
The newly formed PEOPIL Maritime Law EEG aims at putting together a framework for the exchange of information, knowhow and experiences on maritime accident claims in various jurisdictions and at the same time highlight the differences in the interpretation, transposition into national laws, and application of the numerous maritime international and European laws and regulations.