Royal Caribbean Cruises hosted the University of Miami Law School on their ship Enchantment of the Seas for a panel discussion, "Law at Sea: Future Issues in Maritime Law," to celebrate the launch of Miami Law’s Master of Laws program in Maritime Law.
Professor Bernard Oxman
“The event encapsulates our desire to shape the new program to reflect the many facets of maritime law in the modern world,” said Professor Bernard Oxman, Faculty Chair of the Maritime LL.M. program.
Professor Oxman moderated the panel discussion on which Tony Faso, Associate Vice President of Guest and Legal Services at Royal Caribbean, spoke about how current developments in maritime law are affecting the cruise business in South Florida and around the world.
Also on the panel was Daniel Suman, a professor in the Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at which students in the Maritime LL.M. program can take courses. Suman, who is on the faculty for the Maritime LL.M., teaches coastal management and environmental law, among other subjects, and his research surrounds marine protected areas and coastal management plans, especially in Latin America.
Professor Suman discussed the PortMiami Deep Dredge Project, which aims to expand the Port of Miami to allow larger cargo ships to enter as part of the city’s bid to attract more commerce to the area. He criticized the program for the environmental damage it has caused, including the smothering of coral reefs that results from the settling of suspended sediment in the water raised by the dredging.
“Sediment on coral reefs has a negative impact,” Suman said. “It buries the reefs and the corals can become suffocated, asphyxiated … Diving has indicated that the impacts of sediment burial of reefs extends two, almost three miles north and south of the dredge.”
The danger goes beyond just burying coral reefs, he says.
“There are two threatened coral species, staghorn and elkhorn coral, at the site,” says Suman. “This is their critical habitat. We really don’t know yet what the long-term impact will be.”
The Maritime Law LL.M. program aims to prepare attorneys to deal with these and other such issues surrounding the use and protection of the marine environment. It is a one-year program which offers a rigorous and practical curriculum taught by renowned scholars in the field.
Professor Oxman expects the new program will enable students to make a positive impact.
“We expect that our graduates will be well-prepared to make significant contributions in the future to improve safety and efficiency of maritime activities, to enhance the protection of the marine environment, to meet the challenges of rising sea levels, and to bring fact and sound reasoning to bear on public debate regarding important policy issues such as U.S. participation in important treaties that address matters such as the law of the sea and global warming.”