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MARITIME FRAUD AND PIRACY2nd edition
By Paul Todd
Lloyds List, London
SADLY, THIS IS VERY MUCH A BOOK FOR OUR TIMES!
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
The purpose of this Informs title is clear from the outset- it is a focus on how maritime fraud directly impinges on contracts for international sale and carriage, documentary credits and marine insurance and is directly relevant to all involved in international trade…and international crime.
It’s a timely publication in the second edition because piracy, in particular, is never far from the headlines and has changed emphasis as a form of international outrage over recent years. There have been increased random attacks and kidnaps which have given rise to new forms of legal consequence moulded differently from the ‘more traditional’ violent thefts of cargoes and ships at sea.
The book has seven chapters and the first begins with ‘piracy today’ as the new chapter to highlight the growing international crime problem. Paul Todd then delves into issues particular to maritime fraud and covers 5 topics: the sale contract; the banks; the carriers; marine insurance; and technology.
Do read the Preface carefully because the author sets out the trail of events since 2003 when the first edition appeared. It’s the Preface which conveys the horror that is piracy today and the essence of the problem which is maritime crime.
Thankfully, Todd says he has made no attempt to be politically correct here but, as an academic, he does need to tell us about the use of the male and female tags (and does it rather well!) and we even have reference to Anne Bonney. Of course, the banks remain as ‘it’: news which, we are assured, the hard pressed taxpayer will be delighted to hear.
The seven Appendices are extremely important and useful to this work. They cover, respectively: piracy in international law; charterparty piracy clauses; criminal law provisions; the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (of course); hull and cargo clauses; Bills of Lading provisions; and legislation on Digital Signatures and Certification Authorities Electronic Signatures Regulations 2002 (a must for the new IT Age). There is a good, detailed index at the back which is easy to use.
Paul Todd draws a number of conclusions for some of the chapters but what is so refreshing are his ‘real grounds for optimism’ that the fight back against piracy and the intractable problem of ransom hijackings ‘might be successful’ although it is clear that the international community is barely reviewing the surface of this problem which is as much about crime as trade and the lackluster approach for future international agreements.
Of course, the same can be said with both bribery and corruption, policing the internet and so on.
One thing is clear- Todd has, sad to report for its reality, produced an excellent new edition of a book which is very much part of our times. He gives us a detailed commentary on how maritime fraud has been consumed by this form of terrorism which has reverted back to what we call piracy and continues to affect so much within the law of marine insurance today: Informa have excelled here with this title as modern publishing pathfinders to combat this menace from the deep with an important legal statement of the current law.