About Us

The Maritime Law Association of South Africa

The Maritime Law Association of South Africa was established in February 1974 by maritime lawyers and others in the shipping industry to ensure that legislation in South Africa regulating maritime affairs is kept up to date with developments elsewhere in the world. The Association has provided valuable assistance in drafting numerous Acts, most notably the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act 1983, which is largely the work of the late Douglas Shaw QC.

Amongst other things: the MLA promotes the development of maritime and other transport laws; creates a forum for discussing all aspects of maritime and logistics in South Africa; liaises with industry, government and other bodies on issues of common interest; and, as a member of the “Comité Maritime International (CMI), provides a forum for the advancement of South Africa’s maritime and logistics law internationally and provides input to the CMI on South Africa’s position on international maritime and logistics law.

The MLASA is run by an executive committee (Exco) elected from its members at its AGM. The Executive Committee meets regularly throughout the year and in turn establishes various sub-committees to deal with particular maritime legal issues. Furthermore, local regional chapters report to the Exco on local events and functions, and submits local comment on legal and policy issues which arise from time to time.


To promote the study, research, administration and advancement of the maritime laws of the Republic of South Africa and their administration.
To afford opportunities for the discussion and consideration of matters of interest to members of MLA and to undertake or assist in the preparation and promotion of agreements and arrangements in respect of such matters.
To promote the study, research, administration and advancement of the aviation, rail and road transport laws of the Republic of South Africa.
To collect and circulate statistical and other information and to form a collection of publications and documents of service or of interest to members of MLA.
To co-operate, promote and consider with the Comité Maritime International and any other associations’ proposals for the unification of the maritime, aviation, rail and road transport laws and practice of different nations.
To do all such other lawful things as are incidental to or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives or any of them.


The drafting and promotion of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act, No. 105 of 1983.
The drafting and promotion of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, No. 1 of 1986.
The drafting and promotion of the Wreck and Salvage Act, No. 94 of 1996.
The drafting and promotion of the Sea Transport Documents Act, No. 65 of 2000.
Close association with the South African Maritime Safety Authority and the Department of Transport in respect of the drafting and promotion of the Ship Registration Act, No. 58 of 1998 and a general revision of the South African Merchant Shipping Act, No. 57 of 1951.
The establishment of the Reinecke Commision into small – boat safety.
Involvement in all aspects of legislation directed at the prevention of oil and other marine pollution, including advising the government authorities on international conventions regulating such pollution.
Re-establishment of liaison between the search and rescue operations conducted by the Coast Guard and Silvermine.
The drafting of a Ships Mortgages Act and a Marine Insurance Act.
commentary on, and negotiating provisions of a proposed Small Craft Act.
Negotiations for the exemption of the shipping industry from the provisions of the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act.
The identification of conventions which are of concern to the shipping industry in South Africa.
The involvement of members of MLA in advising the South Africa Government on matters of maritime policy and in serving on the National Maritime Advisory Council, the Transport Advisory Council, the Maritime Transport Policy World Group, the Committee of Enquiry into a National Maritime Policy for the Republic of South Africa and the Maritime Transport Policy Working Group.
The founding of the Steven Wallace Maritime Trust to provide funding for maritime law education within South Africa.