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Information Technology in Navigation: Problems in Legal Implementation and Liability

  • Michael Tsimplis (a1) and Spiros Papadas (a2)
Abstract

E-navigation poses significant challenges for shipping. The analysis of the legal norms in the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) and court decisions supports the use of information technology on the bridge for the purpose of improving navigational safety. However, the current regulatory and standardisation requirements hamper the introduction of new information streams in navigational systems and remove the incentives for investment in navigation technology. The liability arising from navigational failures will remain on the employer of the crew irrespective of how the additional navigational information is provided to the navigational systems. The shipowner's liability may depend on the way information streams are provided to the ship only within the context of the Civil Liability Convention (CLC) 1992 and other similar pollution conventions where the characterisation of the navigational system as a navigational aid or an aid to navigation may decide the issue of liability. Research on the legal background of these terms underlines the need for a clear distinction between the two terms to be made. An interpretation is proposed which ensures that the CLC liability exception operates in accordance with the underlying legal requirements.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-ncnd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
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