How the tiny Island of Malta became known for International Maritime Law

With a population of 430,000 , Malta, a member of the European Union, is located in the center of the Mediterranean Sea – between Italy and Tunisia. It is also the site of IMLI (International Maritime Law Institute).

It’s a tiny island, but when you zoom out, you don’t have to wonder why Malta has become so important to the maritime industry. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, with deep, rich harbors, Malta has long relied on the maritime industry to prosper. Rich in shipping history, archaeological sites there still may even turn up evidence of the busy ports dating back to a time before the Phoenicians. Civilizations connected there through commerce but more recently (with some government intervention) it became known not only for the shipping industry, but more importantly, Maritime law – the bodies of law that regulate the shipping industry.

The United Nations Geneva Convention in 1967 anchored Malta’s place in the history of the maritime law profession. The Maltese initiative became clear then and in 1982, the UN adopted the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This push to create harmony between all countries of the world as it pertains to shipping, birthed the International Maritime Organization (IMO), headquartered in London. Their globally recognized training program, the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI), which began in 1988, on the island of Malta.

“For a large part of the industry, the IMO is still the global rule-maker, with a particularly intense mandate to clamp down on emissions, imposing difficult measures like the 2020 global sulphur cap.”

Loyd’s List
IMO’s school of law has just graduated their 30th annual class of maritime law attorneys at their campus located on the University of Malta.

The concept behind IMO and IMLI is that because shipping is a global industry, it is best to have a global institute to work on behalf of all countries to create harmony in the maritime industry. IMLI hopes to teach deserved students from around the world (students have graduated from IMLI via 146 countries) the laws and best practices of shipping. The graduated lawyers of IMLI can then focus their careers on maritime law and assist their respective countries grow a strong maritime economy.

Mr. Kitack Lim (South Korea) Secretary General of IMO; Charmain of IMLI

“Developing and enacting domestic legislation for maritime law is a vital task when lawyers return from IMLI to their home country. Graduates contribute to their home countries by establishing a solid legal foundation for the maritime sector to thrive. ”

Now in its 30th year of teaching maritime law internationally, IMO and IMLI are playing a vital role to make shipping safer and the oceans cleaner .

Empowering Women in the Maritime Law Industry

From a recent podcast interview with ShippingPodcast, the director of admissions at IMLI, Elda Kazara Belja states that the organization has pledged that 50% of placements in the program will go towards deserving female students from around the world. When asked where she sees the future of shipping, Mrs. Belja says,

“Integrating women into the maritime industry…better late then never. Promoting peaceful communities and sustainable business . It’s unfortunate because the accidents make headlines… but we forget about the positive impact of shipping. We can’t be shy about accentuating the positive aspects of shipping.”

– Director of Admissions at IMLI, Elda Kazara Belja

If you are interested in learning more about the program at IMLI, you can visit their site : .

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IMLI’s Promotional Video