The Law of Maritime Blockade: Past, Present, and Future

ISBN : 9780198808435

Phillip Drew
210 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Dec 2017
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Although appearing to be a relatively benign method of warfare when viewed from a distance, a close examination of maritime blockade unveils a sinister character that can, in cases where countries are highly reliant on imports of foodstuffs to feed their populations, prove incredibly deadly, particularly for the young and elderly. This book is unique in that it is the only contemporary book that is dedicated to the study of the law of maritime blockade in the context of modern humanitarian law.

Reviewing the development of blockade law over the past four centuries, The Law of Maritime Blockade provides a historical analysis of the law as it emerged, tracing its evolution through armed conflicts between 1684 and the present. Referring to the starvation caused by the blockade of Germany during World War I and the humanitarian crisis caused by the sanctions regime against Iraq (1991-2003), this book demonstrates that blockade can have extremely deleterious effects for vulnerable civilian populations. In this context the current law of blockade is examined, and found to be deficient in terms of its protection for civilians. Recognizing and advocating that blockade should remain as a valid and effective method of warfare, the book offers a template for a modern law of blockade maritime blockade that incorporates many of the traditional aspects of the law, while reducing the possibilities that blockades can cause or exacerbate humanitarian disasters.


1 Introduction
2 Maritime Neutrality Law
3 The Law of Contraband
4 The Historical Practice of Blockade
5 Blockade Law
6 Blockade and the Civilian Population
7 International Humanitarian Law and Blockade
8 Blockade in Non-International Armed Conflict
9 International Human Rights Law and Blockade
10 Conclusions and Recommendations
Appendix: Model Law of Blockade

About the author: 

Dr Phillip Drew is an Associate Professor in the College of Law, at the Australian National University, where he teaches courses on International Humanitarian Law, Military Operations Law, Maritime Security Law, and Peacekeeping Law. A retired military officer who served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 30 years, he has participated in a number of armed conflicts and peacekeeping operations. He has commanded a variety of military units both in Canada and overseas, and was the Legal Advisor to the Canadian Pacific Fleet from 2004-2009. As a Senior Consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) he regularly works with governments in West Africa to develop and implement counter-piracy and maritime crime legislation. He is currently a member of the United Nations Expert Working Group for University Education, an initiative of the Education for Justice Program.

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