Media interest in the fates of people at sea has heightened across the last decade. The attacks and the hostage taking of victims by Somali pirates, and the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean, ask pressing questions, as does the sinking of the Costa Concordia off the Italian island of Giglio which, one hundred years after the Titanic capsized, reminded the world that, despite modern navigation systems and technology, shipping is still
fallible. Do pirates have human rights? Can migrants at sea be turned back to the State from which they have sailed? How can the crews of vessels be protected against inhuman and degrading working and living conditions? And are States liable under international human rights treaties for arresting drug
traffickers on the high seas?
The first text to comprehensively compare the legal rights of different people at sea, Irini Papanicolopulu's timely text argues that there is an overarching duty of the state to protect people at sea and adopt all necessary acts with a view towards ensuring enjoyment of their rights. Rather than being in doubt, she reveals that the emerging law in this area is watertight.