Maritime Law

Maritime Law



Antwerp Maritime Academy is proud to present its unique programme on Maritime Law from 2 May to 17 May 2023.


Most lectures will be held at the Academy. Due to last year’s success, however, we will continue to offer participation online via the Academy’s electronic platform.

A wide variety of selected topics is addressed. They cover a large and diverse area of maritime law, both from a legal and a practical point of view, covering both Law of the Sea and Admiralty Law (in European continental parlance, both private law and public law aspects). Week 1 (as of 2 May) is dedicated to Law of the Sea (supervised and presided by Prof. Em. Eduard Somers), Week 2 (as of 8 May) and Week 3 (as of 15 May) are reserved for Admiralty Law (supervised by Prof. Ralph De Wit). Topics include (inter alia) aspects of the new Belgian Shipping Code, carriage of goods by sea, chartering, limitation of liability for shipowners, ship finance, insurance aspects, arrest and judicial sale of vessels, joint surveys in maritime disputes, ISPS, disciplinary actions, safety issues…


Antwerp Maritime Academy is a bilingual institution for Dutch-speaking and French-speaking students. For practical reasons, the present courses are all in English. With a few exceptions, practically all speakers are native Dutch speakers, and hence any questions by outside participants can also be answered in that language.



> register here, mentioning the lecture(s) you wish to attend.


Registration fees apply:

  • € 175,00 for a half day programme

  • € 300,00 for a full day programme

  • Students (studying in Belgium) participate for free. Mention your Belgian student ID.


Below you will find a preliminary programme based on last year’s, subject to changes and to speaker availability.

Course materials consist of slide presentations and/or texts, and some background documentation.


Professional training credits (OVB) will be available for Belgian lawyers and (if possible) for other professions with training requirements.



> register here




Tuesday 2 May



Setting the scene: recap of the Law of the Sea

Em. Prof. Dr. Eddy Somers

University of Ghent (ret.), President Royal Belgian Marine Society



Influencing and harmonising role of EU Maritime Transport Law

University of Ghent (ret.), President Royal Belgian Marine Society



Maritime Accident Investigation

Capt. Hans De Veene, M.Sc.

Federal Bureau for the Investigation of Marine Accidents, Marine Accident Investigator




Aspects of criminal law regarding master and crew



Wednesday 3 May



Security in Port: ISPS

Capt. Dirk Vernaeve

Former Port Commander, Port of Ghent



Security-related incidents – Piracy

FKP (R) Walter Verstrepen

Elegis Law Offices (Brussels), Solicitor England and Wales



Access for Ships into foreign State territory – Safety first? Security first?



Security-related incidents – Unlawful acts at sea in areas beyond coastal state jurisdiction: outsourcing prosecution for alleged pirates?



The role of the Belgian Navy with respect to incidents at sea

Corvette Capt. Ilja Van Hespen

Belgian Navy



Thursday 4 May



Marine insurance aspects of incidents at sea

Mr. Franck Dollfus

Lawyer/Legal Counsel – Asterias Avocats, Lecturer Assurances Maritimes, Université Le Havre Normandie



Friday 5 May



Disciplinary law regarding master and crew

Mr. Paul De Baets

Honorary President Court of Appeal Antwerp, President of the Belgian Maritime Disciplinary Board



Civil law in case of incidents at sea – Compensation and liability for marine pollution



Safety-related incidents – Contingency planning

Safety-related incidents – Pollution combating operations

Pollution Offences

Mr. Ronny Schallier

Counter Pollution Officer MUMM (OD Nature-RBINS), Team leader of Belgian North Sea aerial survey programme, BELSPO representative (scientific advisor) in Belgian Coastguard structure and Bonn Agreement



Jurisdiction of the Port Commander in Belgian Ports

Capt. Mario Calbert

Port Commander, Port of Ostend





Monday 8 May



Deck Cargo in the New Belgian Shipping Code

Prof. Dr. Ralph De Wit

Attorney at Antwerp, Antwerp Maritime Academy, University of Brussels (VUB)



Tuesday 9 May



Multimodal Carriage of Goods (Part 1)

Prof. Dr. Ralph De Wit

Attorney at Antwerp, Antwerp Maritime Academy, University of Brussels (VUB)



Joint Surveys in Maritime Disputes and the Nautical Commission

Capt. Jeroen Weyn

Nautical Commission Antwerp



Wednesday 10 May



Arrest of Ships

Mr. André Kegels

Senior Partner, Kegels & Co Law Offices



Limitation of Liability for Shipowners: overall review of the LLMC Convention and LLMC application examples in Belgium

Prof. Dr. Frank Stevens

Erasmus University Rotterdam



Judicial Sale of Ships

Mr. Benoit Goemans

Senior Partner, Goemans De Scheemaecker & De Wit Law Offices



Thursday 11 May



The Belgian Shipping Code: Brief History and Some Recent Changes

Prof. Dr. Ralph De Wit

Attorney at Antwerp, Antwerp Maritime Academy, University of Brussels (VUB)



Container Demurrage and Insurance Cover

Mr. Justice Frank Vennekens

Judge in the Company Court (Ondernemingsrechtbank) Antwerp

Mr. Jef Gorrebeeck

Fellow and Academic Assistant, Law Faculty University of Brussels (VUB)



Friday 12 May



Multimodal Carriage of Goods (Part 2)

Prof. Dr. Ralph De Wit

Attorney at Antwerp, Antwerp Maritime Academy, University of Brussels (VUB)

(Continued from 9 May)



Monday 15 May



Ship Finance: Selected Topics

Mrs. Birgitta Van Itterbeek

Attorney, GDS Advocaten



Marine Insurance: Cargo

Mr. Jef Gorrebeeck

Fellow Law Faculty University of Brussels (VUB)



Chartering Practice

Mr. Peter Laurijssen

Chief Legal Officer CMB, Member Documentary Committee BIMCO, Editor in Chief European Transport Law (ETL), Fellow Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers



Tuesday 16 May



Uniform Interpretation and Application of Commercial Law

Prof. Dr. Marc L. Hendrikse (online presentation)

Open University of The Netherlands – University of Amsterdam



The Merchant Clause in Maritime Transport Documents

Prof. Dr. Ralph De Wit

Attorney at Antwerp, Antwerp Maritime Academy, University of Brussels (VUB)



Ship Finance: Selected Topics

Mr. Carlo Corcione (online presentation) (to be confirmed)

Managing Director, D’Amato Shipping



The Nautical Fault, Fire, and Peril of the Sea Exceptions in the HVR. Salvage. Some Practical Considerations

Dr. Nicholas Margetson

Senior Partner, MMRL Law Offices, Rotterdam



Wednesday 17 May



General Average: The York-Antwerp Rules

Prof. Dr. Ralph De Wit

Attorney at Antwerp, Antwerp Maritime Academy, University of Brussels (VUB)

Closed session for students only



Freight Forwarding Practice

Mr. Marc Huybrechts

Forward Belgium, CLECAT, Chairman FIATA World Congress 2021 (Brussels)



Freight Forwarding: Selected Legal Topics

Mr. Adry Poelmans

Senior Partner, Van Doosselaere Advocaten, Antwerp

Closed session for students only



> register here