Maritime Law students, academics and Port
Authority staff on board the Isiponono during the
harbour visit.

Maritime Law students got an inside view of the framework of the largest commercial port in South Africa during a recent Durban harbour visit conducted by UKZN’s Unit of Maritime Law and Maritime Studies in partnership with the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

The excursion was part the student’s orientation into the LLM in Maritime Law programme which presents several opportunities for student interaction with legal professionals and members of the shipping industry.

During the harbour visit, students were treated to a presentation on the legislative framework for the commercial ports of South Africa by UKZN alumni and Portfolio Manager for Legal and Compliance, Mr Peter Balfour, and Senior Marine Engineer, Mr Eugene Rappetti, as well as the Ports Legal Advisor, Ms Emma du Plooy.

The presenters spoke about the functions of the TNPA and the operation of the various commercial ports of South Africa, the provision of legal services and handling marine incidents within the port of Durban and governance issues which gave students insight into the vital role legal skills play in the marine industry.

Law academic, Ms Dusty-Lee Donnelly, said the presentations opened a forum for students to engage and debate on social and topical issues involving the port.

‘The LLM is a dynamic programme which presents several opportunities for student interaction with legal professionals and members of the shipping industry.  During lunch, students were given a waterside trip around the Port on the Isiponono with various members of TNPA’s staff,’ said Donnelly.

‘Orientation Week is an important component in stimulating research topics grounded in exposure to the practical application of knowledge.’  

In addition to the port trip, the students were addressed by senior UKZN Law academics The Honourable Mr Justice Malcolm Wallis and Professor Trevor Jones and were also hosted to an evening at attorneys Norton Rose Fulbright listening to presentations from two senior shipping attorneys.

LLM student, Ms Romane Paul, said the visit had been enlightening, inspirational and captivating as it helped her get a better understanding of the niche area of maritime law that she hoped to be part of one day.

‘The day and presentations were truly interesting, beneficial and thought provoking. Every question was keenly answered by the Transnet team, which was received by students with appreciation,’ she said.