The maritime industry, with its vast expanse of oceans and intricate legal frameworks, has always been a subject of intrigue and importance. Lauren Beagen, a maritime attorney and expert, sheds light on the complexities and nuances of this industry in a recent discussion. This article delves into the key takeaways from her insights, providing a comprehensive understanding of the maritime legal landscape.
Note: excerpts come from The Maritime Legal Landscape: Lauren Beagan
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges for the maritime industry. Lauren highlights the significant increase in ocean shipping rates, which skyrocketed from around $2,000 to $25,000 for a 40-foot container. This surge was primarily due to the pandemic’s disruption of the supply chain, causing a ripple effect of delays and congestion.
Lauren explains, “Ocean shipping requires people in person. So, you have an international health emergency where people aren’t allowed to work next to each other. How do you get people on a ship? They’re all working next to each other. How do you get people at a port?”
The pandemic also led to operational constraints. With fewer mariners available and challenges in administering vaccines to those constantly on the move, the operations of ocean shipping faced significant hurdles. Warehouses became overfilled, leading to storage issues and subsequent charges. Lauren emphasizes the dilemma faced by many, stating, “I want my stuff out of [the port]. I don’t make money if it’s sitting at the port.”
Maritime law, often considered the foundation for many land laws, is more intertwined with everyday life than most realize. Lauren touches upon the international standards for boat navigation, explaining the prescriptive ways vessels move around, from signals to lights and horns. This system, she notes, has influenced the rules of the road on land.
Furthermore, the international law of the sea, which governs navigation and territorial waters, is now being applied to space law. Lauren remarks, “This law of the sea, in general theories, is roughly being applied to space law. Pretty cool, huh?”
Piracy, while romanticized in popular culture, is a grave concern in the maritime world. Lauren describes it as an “internal crime against humanity.” The movie “Captain Phillips” offers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of piracy off Somalia. Lauren points out that these pirates often resort to such measures out of necessity, not desire.
Over the years, Lauren has observed a growing societal awareness of the maritime industry. The recent supply chain disruptions have made people more cognizant of the intricate processes behind the goods they consume. Lauren hopes for continued appreciation for the essential workers in the maritime industry, stating, “90% of everything that all Americans consume, use, eat comes over ocean shipping at some point.”
For those looking to venture into the maritime industry, Lauren advises nurturing natural curiosity and passion. She believes that if one is genuinely interested, they will find ways to monetize their passion and carve a niche for themselves.
The maritime industry, with its vast oceans and intricate legalities, plays a pivotal role in global trade and commerce. As Lauren aptly puts it, “Who doesn’t like maritime law? It’s so fun.” With experts like her shedding light on the industry’s complexities, one can only hope for a brighter and more informed future for maritime professionals and enthusiasts alike.
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