Legal impacts of the MONALISA project

Proshanto K. Mukherjee, Professor of Maritime Law and Director of the Maritime Law Programme at Lund University, has prepared the final report about the legal impacts of the MONALISA project on the international legal framework for navigation at sea.


From the discussion in this Report it is apparent that there are several areas of conflict between proposals put forward in the MONALISA and existing international maritime law contained in various convention instruments, in particular UNCLOS, SOLAS, COLREGS and STCW. Whether or not these conflicts can be resolved remains an issue which must be addressed. Any proposals to that effect may be somewhat speculative in the first instance; however, in the opinion of the author, these are not insurmountable hurdles. To reconcile the conflicts a rational action plan would need to be adopted which would consist of an examination of the proposals emanating from the MONALISA Project to determine whether they can be integrated into the existing international law. Each element of the MONALISA initiative must be considered in light of the existing corresponding areas of international law to determine whether there is a reasonable degree of compatibility.


On certain issues, conventions often provide for discretion on the part of the state party in terms of applying legislative or enforcement jurisdiction or both in respect of certain convention provisions. As a first step, where appropriate circumstances can be identified, some MONALISA proposals may be put into effect through national or regional legislation. Instances of compatibility would be, for example, the SOLAS provisions relating to LRIT, VDR, ships' routing, TSS, etc., in which the MONALISA proposals could be subsumed. Where this is not possible, in other words, there is a lack of compatibility, and the MONALISA proposals in question could constitute a crucial improvement to safety of navigation and prevention of pollution, amendments to existing instruments could be proposed. This could be the second alternative. It is recognized, of course, that in some instances attempting to amend existing conventions might be a herculean task bordering on impossibility, or may be outright impossible to achieve. In such instances a third option could be adopted. This would be using the voluntary approach to implementation of MONALISA proposals by ships and shore-based personnel provided there is no impediment to such actions under the domestic law of a ship's flag state or a relevant coastal state. 


Final report - Legal impacts of the MONALISA project on the international legal framework