Maritime Law Professor Daniel Suman Lectures in Colombia on Environmental Effects of Dredging and Miami Port


(Professor Daniel Suman, pictured second from right at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali.)

Professor Daniel Suman of Miami Law's Maritime LL.M. program was the international presenter at the conference “Maritime Law and Environmental Law, a local opportunity with an international perspective."  In collaboration with the Ministry of National Defense General Maritime Division of Colombia (DIMAR), the event was organized by and took place at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali – a partner school of University of Miami Law.

His conference lecture, delivered at the August 28, 2017 event, covered the topic, “Dredging of the Port of Miami and Linkages to Panama Canal Expansion, Modernization of Colombian Ports, and the Panama-Colombia Highway Connection” covered the Port of Miami´s recent expansion project.

Suman explained how it involved dredging of the navigation channel to 15 meters in order to receive Post-Panamax vessels that can transit the new Panama Canal locks – approved by Miami-Dade County officials with the hope the port expansion will position the Port of Miami as a logistical center for container commerce from East Asia to the East Coast USA.

Professor Suman described the environmental impact of the dredging, the legal challenges by environmental groups, and the institutional conflicts between the Army Corps of Engineers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) related to adverse impacts to the coral colonies (many listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act) and the water column.

He also acknowledged while the Port of Miami Project has been a technical success, it has had serious unexpected environmental consequences, particularly related to burial and destruction of coral colonies that were seriously under-estimated in the divers surveys. Suman also drew connections between the Port of Miami expansion project and other port expansion projects in Pacific Rim nations such as China, Colombia, and Panama.

Professor Suman´s visit to Colombia comes on the heels of Miami Law and the Universidad Javeriana Cali signing a collaboration agreement. The agreement provides selected graduates of the Universidad Javeriana Cali the opportunity to undertake LL.M. studies at University of Miami School of Law.

Miami Law has agreements with five Universities throughout Colombia and aims to attract some of the country’s brightest minds for a year of study in the United States.