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Course Catalogue


Maritime Operational Law Course

Conducted by COSEC


To provide education and individual training to military/civilian legal advisors and naval officers in legal considerations pertaining to NATO maritime operations and public international law as it applies to peacetime operations and armed conflict at sea.


Duration: 1 Week
Course Structure: Resident (1)
Language: English 3332 IAW STANAG 6001
Classification: NATO Unclassified
Discipline: MOP - Maritime Operations
Area: MO - Maritime Operations
Depth of Knowledge: 3 - Advance
ePrime No.: 962
ETOC Code: MOP-MO-36886

Admin note

This course will be held as an offsite at NMIOTC in Crete, Greece

Course Iterations

Code Course Dates Open Seats
N5-162-A-24 20 - 24 May 24 Contact POC

If you wish to join a resident course you may have your agency POC send a seat request. Please click on the POC Finder to obtain the contact information of your agency POC.

ADL courses can be accessed without the need for enrolment but students are required to register through the JADL portal using a military/government email address otherwise they will not be accepted.

Learning Objectives

Identify foundational laws and principles of the maritime domain: Students shall be able to comprehend and implement applicable international legal provisions by:
a. Identify key provisions of UNCLOS and other legal regimes and policies applicable to the seas.
b. Relate different regimes and degrees of jurisdiction over maritime zones from the coast to the high seas.
c. Examine navigation rights, claims and assertions and activities permissible according to International Law.
d. Administer and apply legal regimes and policy considerations through case studies.

Examine legal considerations of Maritime Security and Law Enforcement Operations: The student analyze current and past Maritime Security and Law Enforcement Operations and Interdictions by:
a. Identifying legal grounds and terms for maritime security and law enforcement operations.
b. Determining various degrees of use of force applying in Maritime Security and law enforcement Operations.
c. Extracting legal considerations for conducting Maritime Interdiction under international law and/or international mandate.
D. Discussing considerations for boarding and visit of ships with and without nationality as an integral tenant of MIO.

Examine the Use of Force and Maritime Law Enforcement while in an armed conflict: The student will demonstrate the ability to:
a. Outline what level of force international law permits to ensure successful completion of maritime law enforcement operations.
b. Recount what level of force domestic law permits during MLE missions to include against non-compliant vessels and individuals.
c. Articulate when self-defense is appropriate during MLE missions and the use of force continuum.

Examine Interdiction operations under international law/mandate: The student will demonstrate the ability to:
a. Explain UNCLOS principles and other legal basis that support and permit MIO.
b. State which types of MIO operations occur during armed conflict.
c. Articulate operational and legal challenges pertaining to MIO.
d. Describe other legal regimes that apply to MIO.

Understand Ships without Nationality and the Right to Visit: The student will demonstrate the ability to:
a. Explain when a ship is considered without nationality.
b. Communicate legal considerations for conducting boardings and visits for flag verification.

Identify the principles of international law applicable to naval warfare.: The student will demonstrate the ability to:
a. Analyze the complexity of international law applicable to naval warfare through its various sources
b. Relate the legal dimensions of means and methods applicable to Naval Warfare.
c. Outline geographical considerations and humanitarian constrains on Naval Warfare.
d. Discuss tenants, applicable legal regimes and considerations for naval targeting.

Examine legal and policy issues of NATO Maritime Operations: The student demonstrate understanding of concepts and content presented by demonstrating the ability to:
a. Outline the concept, implementation and use of NATO Rules of Engagement (ROE)
b. Understand the history of past Non-Combatant Evacuations Operations (NEOs) and the applicable legal framework and regimes.
c. Ex Recount the importance and utility of INCSEAs and Unplanned Encounters at Sea.
d. Discuss Human Rights challenges at Sea in connection to migration related operations.

Course Participants

Language Proficiency: English 3332 IAW STANAG 6001
Rank Requirements: NCO: Not eligible
Officer: OF-1 thru OF-5


The one-week course will be conducted through a combination of classroom lectures, case studies, and group work. The classroom lectures will be provided by SMEs. The lectures will provide a strong basis for case studies, group work, and follow-on discussions. Case studies and group work will foster a practical ability to recognize and address the type of legal issues and challenges that may arise during NATO maritime operations

Further Information

Prerequisite: Qualified National and/or NATO LEGAD