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The China Centre (Maritime) organises six research seminars each year for staff, students and the public. These seminars cover a variety of topics and themes on UK-China relations, concerning in particular issues in the maritime sector.

The seminar series is a forum for focusing on the dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge and technologies, boosting our research output, networking and collaboration with stakeholders. The topics presented at the seminars cover cross-disciplinary fields.

Read abstracts from the seminars and download slides by following the links below.

The Chinese Seafarers: Understanding the Largest Maritime Force in the World

15/02/2017 - Dr Pengfei Zhang, Senior Lecturer, Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, Southampton Solent University

Seafarers make critical contributions to international trade, the world economy, global stability and civil society as a whole. However, the problems and challenges being faced by seafarers are not well known to the world outside of the maritime industry. In recent years, China has emerged as one of the leading maritime nations with the largest number of merchant ships and seafarers in the world.

While there is a wide range of publications on Chinese maritime industry and Chinese ships, there is very little English academic literature specifically on Chinese seafarers. Pengfei’s speech on this topic shed some light onto this special group of people, their special profile and values, their difficulties and expectations and the prospect of change in the future. 

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Superyacht Design and its Chinese Market

14/12/2016 - Presented by Jonathan Ridley, Head of Engineering, Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, Southampton Solent University.

The superyacht industry has flourished in Europe and the USA over recent years, with significant numbers of superyachts built or under construction. As the number of ultra-high worth individuals in China increases, European and American designers and builders must look to the new markets in China and meet a new set of challenging requirements. Main objectives for the session included:

  • understanding what the industry considers to be a superyacht,
  • understanding the primary factors driving superyacht design and how these may change in China, and
  • understand how the industry may develop in the future and identify opportunities for involvement.

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Maritime Suspicion and Distrust: The Global and Regional Implications of the South China Sea Arbitration

26/10/2016 - Presented by Edward Philips, Principal Lecturer, School of Law, the University of Greenwich.

The International Permanent Court of Arbitration delivered its long-awaited ruling in respect of the claims made by The Republic of the Philippines against The People’s Republic of China on the 12 July 2016. In a unanimous ruling, the Tribunal ruled in favour of the Philippines in respect of most (although not all) of the disputed claims made with regard to certain maritime areas of the South China Sea.

It should be noted at the outset that the Tribunal was careful to emphasise that its arbitral award did not deal with any sovereignty claims to certain disputed islands in the region, nor did it deal with any question of boundary delimitation. Instead, the ruling focused on resolving (as far as possible, within the terms of the Tribunal’s jurisdictional competence) the following:

  • The respective rights and obligations of the Philippines and China under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982), in respect of China’s claim to ‘historic rights’ to exploit the maritime areas in dispute and whether such historic rights continue to have legal efficacy (both States are parties and are bound by the Convention).
  • The legal status of a number of maritime features (islands, uninhabited rocks, high-and low-tide elevations and submerged banks) and whether these features are independently capable of generating maritime zones, in particular a territorial sea and / or exclusive economic zone.
  • Whether the actions of China had degraded the marine environment and thus violated its obligations under UNCLOS 1982, through its extensive fishing and construction activities.
  • Whether China, in breach of the principles of international law, had unlawfully aggravated and extended the dispute through its large-scale land reclamation and construction of artificial islands that had occurred even after the arbitration had commenced in 2013.

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