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PolSEA (Policing at SEA)

Who is acting as the Police at SEA? This question is at the core of PolSEA which deals with the comprehensiveness of the Law of the Sea (LoS) regarding “police functions”: is the LoS providing a policing regime that meets the challenges of a dynamic world?

The project starts with the assumption in the legal debate that the LoS concerning policing functions is providing a comprehensive framework. The project is putting this assumption to the test; it approaches the questions raised on three levels, which interact closely with each other.
On the theoretical level, the issue of comprehensiveness of the LoS in establishing a policing regime at sea is discussed and a model of understanding is developed. On a second level, the question of non-state actors in connection with policing activities is raised. On the third level, the model developed on the first level is put to the test in three case studies. The project will conclude on the question of whether the LoS needs to be re-considered.

CMSS’s part in the project deals with safety at sea in the Arctic. In two case studies, shipwreck of tourist vessels and oil spills, CMSS will focus on the legislation and on how the different operators prevent accidents. The aim is to examine if the legislative framework is sufficient in above cases, to examine how the operators act within this framework, and to examine how they handle challenges which are not defined in the legislation.

The project is based on qualitative methods. Data is gathered by evaluation of the existing legislation and procedures and by carrying out interviews with authorities, shipping companies and seafarers from Denmark as well as from Greenland.

Project group
Professor WSR Birgit Feldtmann, Department of Law, Aalborg University
Postdoc Hanna B. Rasmussen, Center of Maritime Health and Society (CMSS), University of Southern Denmark
Professor Kim Østergaard, Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark
Professor WSR Kristina Siig, Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark
Associate professor Ulrike Barten, Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark
Scientific assistant Christian Frier, Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark
Postdoc Fenella Billing, Department of Law, Aarhus University
Professor Finn Laursen, Department of Political Science and Public Management, University of Southern Denmark

Time schedule and economy
The project runs from November 2016 – October 2019 and is funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF), Social Sciences.

Last Updated 20.10.2023