Maritime Law in China
Maritime Law in ChinaUpdated on Tuesday 19th April 2016
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The Maritime Law in China contains provisions regarding the ownership of ships, their ability to carry goods and passengers by sea and methods of solving legal disputes involving vessels. China has access to the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea. It also has numerous bays and its coastline expands over approximately 14,500 kilometers.
China’s geographical position makes it a valuable location for import and export businesses, particularly those that rely on its ports to transport various goods in and outside the country. The Chinese have numerous ports in many regions of the country, out of which some 20 ports are considered major ports. A large number of the total functioning ports are also open to foreign ships.
General provisions regarding maritime transport in China
The Chinese Maritime Code defines maritime transport as the action of carrying goods and passengers by sea, including sea-river and river-sea routes. The Code only regulates the activities undertaken by ships that are not military or public service vessels nor small ships of less than 20 tons.
Foreign ships cannot perform maritime transport or towage services between the ports of China unless they perform this activity under a special permit issued by the competent authorities. If registered in China, ships have Chinese nationality and must sail under the national flag.
The carriage of goods and individuals by sea in China
A carrier of good by sea work under a contract in China for shipping goods or individuals from one port to another. The carrier is responsible for its cargo or individuals transported during the entire time they are on the ship: from loading until discharge.
The carrier has the duty to perform a due diligence procedure on the ship to ensure that it is seaworthy. The goods must be property loaded, handled, deposited and discharged. Our lawyers in China can give you additional information about the responsibilities of the carrier and the situations in which he is not liable for the loss or damage brought to the goods.
Companies in China that perform shipping activities must have the required transport documents. The bill of landing is the document that acts as evidence of the contract to carry goods by sea and it is signed by the master of the ship or an individual authorized by the carrier.
The experts at our law firm in China can give you more details about maritime laws, if you are interested in engaging in trading activities.
You can contact our attorneys in China, if you encounter any legal issues during a maritime transport or need advice for legal matters concerning shipping and vessels.