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Welcome to the website of the Canadian Maritime Law Association. Members of the public are invited to browse the public parts of our website to learn about us. If you have an interest in Canadian maritime law and are not already a member of CMLA, please apply for membership.

If you are a member of CMLA, it is recommended that you proceed directly to the Members Only section which contains additional News and Events relevant to members as well as the full database of CMLA reports and AGM documents. CMLA members may retrieve their passwords here.



 Death of Peter Davidson

With sadness we announce the passing of Peter Wayne Davidson in Montreal on April 25th, 2021. He is mourned by his son, Thomas, his daughter, Katja, his partner, Sylvia, extended family Katie, Pamela, and Wayne, and chosen family. He is remembered by many friends, especially his colleagues in the marine community and at Brisset Bishop where he practiced law for some 50 years, at the Royal Montreal Golf Club as an honoured member, and among alumni of McGill University. Due to the pandemic, a private graveside burial service will be held. A celebration of life will take place at a later date when friends and family can safely gather. In lieu of flowers, Peter would have wished ample donations to be made to Mariners' House of Montreal at

 Master Mariners of Canada Newsclips - Crew Change Repatriation Crisis

The following position on the issue of the Crew Change Repatriation Crisis was adopted by the Company of Master Mariners of Canada at the Board Meeting of January 21, 2021: The International Maritime Organization estimates 400,000 seafarers are stuck at sea with no plans for repatriation. Many have exceeded the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) maximum continuous period onboard of eleven months - many serving 17 months and longer. The marine industry and the seafarers crewing the vessels are critical to the economy, safety and security of Canada and the global marine transportation infrastructure. The Master Mariners of Canada recognize the efforts of the Government of Canada and Transport Canada Marine Safety to establish effective measures to facilitate crew changes of seafarers currently stuck in ships all over the world due to the COVID19 Pandemic. We support fully the requirements of Transport Canada’s Ship Safety Bulletin 01/2021 — Maximum Period of Service Onboard and Repatriation of Seafarers During COVID-19. The Master Mariners of Canada applaud the decision taken by the Government of Australia and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to return to pre-COVID19 international requirements after 28 February 2021 limiting employment contracts to eleven months continuous service onboard. AMSA has indicated they may detain ships arriving with crews onboard in non-compliance with the MLC. Master Mariners of Canada urge the Government of Canada to continue lobbying other IMO Member States to adopt similar positions and detain vessels that arrive with seafarers onboard beyond the MLC maximum continuous service period of eleven months. Furthermore, we urge the Government of Canada to press for a concentrated inspection campaign for non-compliance with maximum periods of service on an urgent basis through the Paris and Tokyo Port State Control Inspection regimes.

 Master Mariners of Canada Newsclips - Labour Shortages of Qualified and Experienced Canadian Seafarers

The following position on the issue of Current and Anticipated Labour Shortages of Qualified and Experienced Canadian Seafarers was adopted by the Company of Master Mariners of Canada at the Board Meeting of January 21, 2021: Financial, economic and national security issues notwithstanding, the current and anticipated labour shortages of qualified and experienced seafarers is a national safety issue affecting all navigable waters under Canadian jurisdiction. To address the risk posed by current and anticipated crew shortages in Canada, a collective and collaborative approach is required to formulate short and long-term strategies aimed at the recruitment, training, certification and retention of Canadians to work aboard Canadian flag ships and in all categories and areas of marine industry. This initiative should be led by the Federal Government to bring employers, unions, educators, regulators and other related industry stakeholders to a round table with a mandate to develop short and long-term strategies to address the current and looming shortages. • Employers and unions should bring to the table their immediate and long-term human resource requirements along with budgets for recruitment and training. • Educators should bring strategies to augment their capacity to train and certify mariners along with budget requirements to provide education and projections for student costs for training and certification. • Government should bring their existing requirements for certifying mariners and new strategies for certifying mariners in the future to streamline the process to make it comprehensive and attractive. • Related Industry Stakeholders (pilotage authorities, classification societies, etc) should bring their current and future requirements for qualified seafarers. All stakeholders must be prepared to fund the strategic plan and provide human resources necessary to implement the strategies in a timely manner.

 Death of William A. O'Neil, C.M.

Sadly, one of the CMLA`s most distinguished Honorary Members, William A. O’Neil, C.M., died at age 93 on October 29, 2020. A civil engineering graduate from the University of Toronto (1949), Mr. O’Neil worked in different positions at Transport Canada, before becoming Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard in 1975. In 1980, he took office as President and Chief Executive Officer of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, a position he held until 1990, when he was first elected as Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, the first Canadian to occupy that high office. Re-elected three times, he held the position until 2003, the second-longest tenure of any IMO Secretary-General. In 1991, he was made Chancellor of the World Maritime University in Malmö , Sweden, and Chairman of the Governing Board of the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta. Bill O’Neil was widely known and highly respected in the worldwide maritime community and had many friends in the CMLA across Canada. For further information on his career, major accomplishments and numerous honours and distinctions, see: and Mr. O’Neil is survived by his wife Olga, as well as by children and grandchildren. Letters of condolence can be sent to them at the address appearing in the CMLA’s membership list: 2 Deanswood Close, Woodcote, Oxfordshire RE8 0PW, United Kingdom. The email address appearing in the CMLA’s membership list is:

 Death of Nigel Frawley (1936-2020)

Nigel Frawley, a long-time CMLA member and past president, as well as a former Secretary General of the Comité Maritime International (CMI) died on January 22, 2019 in Toronto. His obituary, from the Globe and Mail is available at the website cited below. He was a major contributor to the development of maritime law in Canada and around the world and was highly regarded for his competence and personal warmth. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at the Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre, 375 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, on February 7, 2020 at 11:30 p.m. Condolences and remembrances can be sent to Sympathy notes may be addressed to Nigel's widow, Mrs. Lynn Frawley, 83 Balliol Street, Toronto ON M4W 1B9. The CMLA extends deepest sympathy to her, the family and the legion of Nigel's friends and admirers around the world.

 Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act (WAHVA) in Force, July 30, 2019

The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act (“WAHVA”) entered into force on July 30, 2019. As a result, inter alia: • The International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 is implemented in Canada; • Owners of vessels of 300 gross tonnage and above, and unregistered vessels being towed, must maintain wreck removal insurance or other financial security; • The International Convention on Salvage, 1989 and the provisions in the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 with respect to the receiver of wreck are re-enacted (Part 6 of the CSA, 2001 is amended as required and Part 7 of the CSA, 2001 is repealed) • Vessel abandonment and/or leaving of a dilapidated vessel in the same place for more than 60 days without authorization are prohibited. • Not complying with the Act can result in penalties of up to $50,000 for individuals and $250,000 for companies or corporations, while regulatory offence prosecution could result in a maximum fine of $1M for individuals and $6M for companies or corporations. (Summary provided by Eric Machum, CMLA Regional Vice-President (East) and Chair of the Legislative and Regulatory Committee

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