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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 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

 New CMLA President - Shelley Chapelski

At the CMLA’s AGM held on June 13, 2019, Shelley Chapelski, partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP in Vancouver, was elected the President of the organization. She is just the second woman to hold this position during the 68-year history of the CMLA (the other person being Madame Justice Johanne Gauthier of the Federal Court of Appeal of Canada). Paul Harquail, a partner with Stewart McKelvey in Saint John, N.B., was elected as the National Vice President.

 Peter Pamel appointed to the Federal Court of Canada

On May 6, 2019, the Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the appointment of Peter Pamel, partner in the Montreal office of Borden Ladner Gervais, LLP, as a judge of the Federal Court of Canada and a judge ex officio of the Federal Court of Appeal, replacing Mr. Justice M.M.J. Shore, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective March 21, 2018. Peter Pamel obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance from Concordia University in 1983 and graduated from the Faculty of Law of McGill University, with civil and common law degrees, in 1987. Admitted to the Barreau du Québec in 1988, he joined McMaster Meighen, a predecessor firm of Borden Ladner Gervais ("BLG"), and has practised maritime law for over 30 years, as well as working for a short time in the shipping industry. Peter has served as counsel to numerous Canadian and international marine stakeholders, dealing with all aspects of admiralty law and marine insurance. A longtime member of the CMLA, Justice Pamel was a founding member of BLG's Team North and head of its maritime law section. He is also past chair of the CMLA's Arctic Issues Committee. He has spoken at, and chaired, conferences on Arctic navigation issues around the world. He also contributed to the second edition of "Canadian Maritime Law" and is the author of numerous articles on maritime law and Arctic navigation. All CMLA members join in transmitting hearty congratulations to Mr. Justice Pamel on his well-deserved appointment to the Bench, as well as best wishes for success and happiness as he assumes the challenging responsibilities of a judge in Canada's Federal Court.

 Mr. Justice Harrington retires

After serving more than 15 years on the Federal Court bench, Mr. Justice Harrington has reached the Court's mandatory retirement age. At the time of his appointment, he was President of this Association. He is an Honourary Life Member and a Titulary Member of the C.M.I. He tells us he is available for consultation, mediation and arbitration. He can be reached at: 176 River Lane Ottawa, ON K1M 1T1 Tel.: 613-748-0501. We wish him every success.

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