International Law Perspectives on Cruise Ships and covid-19

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
Natalie Klein Professor, Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia

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Cruise ships have contributed to the spread of covid-19 around the world and State responses to the pandemic have needed to account for the presence of these ships in their ports and the medical treatment of both passengers and crew on board. This contribution outlines the key bodies of international law that must be brought to bear in deciding on State action in response to cruise ships and their covid-19 cases: the law of the sea, international health law, shipping conventions and especially treaties protecting the rights of seafarers, international human rights law and laws relating to consular assistance. While these laws tend to reinforce each other, it is argued that the need for humanitarian considerations to feature strongly in State decision-making is challenged by systemic weaknesses.

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