Washington International Law Journal


William Honea


The Commercial Maritime Code of the Russian Federation (RMC) entered into force on April 30, 1999. The RMC is a far-reaching and progressive document that seeks to provide a framework for all commercial maritime activities within Russia. The RMC uses the language of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and implements treaties and agreements including those that cover oil pollution, vessel arrest, and competency standards for seafarers. It occupies the field of Russian maritime law, specifically replacing a long list of inherited Soviet laws. It regulates the movement of goods at sea, many common aspects of maritime commerce, and it spells out in detail the process for securing maritime creditor's rights. It strongly recognizes property rights in vessels, but contains whimsical reminders of a socialist past. Like omnibus pieces of U.S. legislation, it provides grants of regulatory authority to agencies. At other junctures, it relies on follow-up legislation to flesh out its provisions. This translation is intended for U.S. readers who wish to acquaint themselves with some of the basic provisions of the RMC. As such, it is not translated in its entirety here. However, its general provisions and those provisions governing the regulation of vessel flag and registry have been translated and are printed below in full text. In addition, this translation provides a list of the remaining RMC provisions governing specific aspects of maritime law.

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