A ship that sails without a crew? Technologically it is possible. All systems would then be controlled from the shore through ICT. But who is responsible if something were to go wrong on board a ship without a captain? New technology requires new regulations. But the reverse is also true. New regulations for safety and the environment need technological innovations. Maritime technology and law come together in the research field of the Maritime Law (ML) Professorship of Applied sciences of NHL Stenden University.

In 2030, maritime professionals will be working with technologies that are still to be developed under regulations that are yet to be written. According to the Maritime Law professorship, the key to the competences necessary for this, such as analysis, research and innovation, lie in the practically-oriented research carried out in the intersection of technology and law.

The maritime sector has to meet ever stricter environmental and safety requirements, whilst maritime professionals are working with new technologies within international regulations that differ in terms of both time and place. The professorship focusses on maritime international private law, or rather: issues regarding international trade.

Download A Catalyst between Law and Technology (pdf)

Strengthening three areas

The Maritime Law professorship focuses on three lines of research aimed at strengthening the maritime sector, the maritime professional and protecting the environment. The research line for strengthening the maritime sector is focussed on the private law that stimulates Smart Shipping. The maritime professional is supported by the research line in which research competence and knowledge of the law are central. Research into private law for innovative ships aims to strengthen the protection of the environment.

With whom do we work together?

The Maritime Law professorship works together with technologists and legal professionals at universities and companies. In addition, the professorship maintains close connections with maritime businesses. Research results are shared as much as possible, for example through publications, a minor or a symposium.

Professional Doctorate

The shipping industry faces major challenges in the field of sustainability and energy transition. New regulations require ship emissions to be reduced by 55% by 2030. This task requires the use of alternative fuels, smarter sailing and more extensive automation. In 2023, NHL Stenden will offer the Professional Doctorate, in which you will conduct practice-oriented research that contributes to the sustainability, safety and competitiveness of the maritime sector. Respond to the vacancy via the button below.

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The daily business off the Maritime Law professorship is developing new techniques for maritime professionals. We do this through research conducted in a multidisciplinary team.

The Maritime Law professorship is headed by lector Welmoed van der Velde and focuses on three lines of research: strengthening the maritime sector, the maritime professional and protecting the environment. With practice-oriented research we strengthen the exchange of knowledge between education and the professional field.


NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz

Team members