School of Law

Dr Alexandros X.M. Ntovas, BA (Hons) LLB(Hons) LLM (Distinction) MSc (Hons) PhD (Southampton) FHEA (London) Advocate (Athens)

Alexandros X.M.

Lecturer in Shipping Law

Room Number: Lincoln's Inn Fields


Dr Alexandros X.M. Ntovas joined Queen Mary's Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS), in January 2016 as a Lecturer in Shipping Law. Prior to that, he had held a law lectureship in international law at the University of Southampton Law School, where he was also a Governing Board Member of the Institute of Maritime Law. He has studied under a number of prestigious scholarships for law and political sciences in Greece, England, Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

His background amalgamates the broader legal disciplines of international and European law, at both public and private level, with political analysis and international relations, as these find a common expression in the context of shipping law, the law of the sea and oceanic policy. He belongs to the new generation of hybrid shipping lawyers, who are competent to perceive, appreciate and undertake the challenging task of dealing with a ship as one single economic, social, commercial and – at times when the flag State extents diplomatic protection to her in international proceedings– sovereign entity.

He has practiced public and administrative law, and acted on numerous occasions as a policy advisor to governments, including the European Union, the public sector and the shipping industry. His expertise within CCLS lies in admiralty, with a focus on wet shipping law, navigational freedoms and practice, as well as in all issues regarding piracy and other aspects of contemporary safety and security of ships, ports and offshore installations. In addition, he leads the LLM in International Shipping Law (Piraeus, Greece), and is an active member of the QMUL's Insurance Law Institute, regarding shipping matters, and Energy and Natural Resources Law Institute, in relation to oceanic policy and law of the sea affairs.

Postgraduate Teaching

  • QLLM303 / QLLG002 Wet Shipping Law: Collisions and other incidents at sea
  • QLLM383 / QLLG008 International Regulation of Shipping
  • QLLM384 Law of the Sea, Navigational Freedoms and Practice
  • QLLM451 Introduction to the International Law of the Sea: Ocean governance and jurisdictional zones
  • QLLM452 Advanced Issues in the Law of the Sea: Uses of the Oceans and Functional Regimes.


Dr Ntovas examines the content of maritime legislation with a view to assessing its adoption, implementation and enforcement in a wide range of substantive areas, wherein based on the precepts of the market economy and promotion of public interest alike, the uniformity and consistency of shipping law can be improved and progressively developed across domestic jurisdictions. Maritime labour law, cyber-security of ships and ports, freedom of navigation, piracy and transnational organised crime, decommission of platforms and offshore installations, and the future regulation of unmanned vessels, reflect some of the professional areas that he is involved in at various stages. His research is particularly informed by recent and ongoing key developments, as well as traditional and newly surfaced challenges that have reshaped the legal landscape of shipping law, or soon they will do so. He is currently researching matters concerning:

  • Flags of convenience and sub-standard vessels in relation to evolving port-State control, including non-flag State actors and their input into maritime regulation.
  • Illegal bunkering, and other illicit activities, within the Exclusive Economic Zone of coastal States.
  • Maritime labour and human rights at sea, including irregular mass migration, and matters related to stowaways.
  • Maritime terrorism and asymmetric threats (cyber-terrorism) against the safety and security of vessels and ports, including extended terminals.
  • Navigation, with particular reference to compulsory pilotage, routing and traffic management of vessels in coastal zones and in special geographic areas (eg., the Arctic) or High Risk Areas (eg., piracy, war zones, etc.).
  • Prompt release of vessels and their crew.
  • Protection and preservation of the marine environment, including living resources.
  • Unmanned maritime vehicles and systems with differing levels of autonomy.



Chapters in Books


Shorter Articles and Commentaries

  • ‘Unmanned commercial vessels: the next fundamental innovation in the shipping industry?’, 1 July 2016, Η Ναυτεμπορική (available in the English edition).
  • ‘Towards the establishment of specialised anti-piracy courts’, (2012) Volume 12 Shipping and Trade Law, Issue 6, pages 1–4
  • ‘Navtiliaki Etairia Thasou AE (Case C-128/10) and Amalthia I Navtiki Etairia (Case C-129/10) v Ipourgos Emborikis Nautilías (EU law – Freedom to provide services to maritime transport within member states)’, case commentary, (2011) Volume 11, Shipping and Trade Law, Issue 4, pages 6–7
  • ‘UN responses to piracy’, (2010) Volume 10 Shipping and Trade Law, Issue 8, pages 4–6
  • ‘The SUA (Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation) Conventions’ (2010) Volume 2 Britannia P and I Conventions Series, pages 9–12, (with Johanna Hjalmarsson)
  • ‘Enosi Efopliston Aktoploïas v Ipourgos Emporikis Naftilias (C-122/09) (EC law – Maritime cabotage)’, case commentary, (2010) Volume 10, Shipping and Trade Law, Issue 6, pages 6–8
  • ‘Piracy – recent developments’, (2010) Volume 10, Shipping and Trade Law, Issue 5, pages 1–3, (with Johanna Hjalmarsson)
  • ‘The role of Special Drawing Rights in international maritime legislation’ (2010) Volume 1, Britannia P and I Conventions Series, pages 9–11
  • ‘Treaty law aspects of international maritime instruments: Conclusion, entry into force and amendment’ (2010) Volume 1, Britannia P and I Conventions Series, pages 2–8.

International Reports

  • Report on Ocean Governance: Security, Stability, Safety, and Sustainability – Volume II: UN Specialized Agencies and Global Ocean Governance, contracted by the Nippon Foundation, (with D. Attard and M. Fitzmaurice) (IMO International Maritime Law Institute: Msida, 2017)
  • Liability for Operations in Unmanned Maritime Vehicles with Differing Levels of Autonomy, contracted by the European Defence Agency (with M. Tsimplis, S. Quinn, A. Serdy, R. Veal) (Institute of Maritime Law: Southampton, 2016).


Dr Ntovas welcomes proposals for supervision in the fields of wet shipping law and international law of the sea.

Currently supervised students

  • M. Bob Kao “Maritime Piracy and the Shipping & Marine Insurance Industries”

Public Engagement


  • 28 February: he led in the organisation of a jointly held event by The Centre for Commercial Law Studies and Hill Dickinson LLP International on ‘Bills of lading’ that took place at the port of Piraeus (Greece), in the NEDA Auditorium. The round-table discussion featured Professor Yvonne Baatz (CCLS), Ieronymos Bikakis (Hill Dickinson), Andrew Dyer (Hill Dickinson) and Dr Miriam Goldby (CCLS) – chairing, in a thorough discussion over the most common issues arising when carrying bulk cargoes. The seminar was well attended by shipping professionals of all spectrums of the industry.


  • 25 June: he was invited to the biennial proceedings of the Colloque Maritime Franco-Britannique, which this year took place in Paris under the theme of “Les nouveaux défis maritimes européens: terrorisme, Brexit” and it was hosted at Les services du Premier minister / Le Secrétariat général de la Mer. Dr Ntovas sat on the panel examining the ‘Conséquences du Brexit sur le droit maritime’ and in his intervention titled ‘The landscape of cooperation against maritime terrorism post Brexit with regards to commercial shipping: current challenges and prospects’, he stood in favour of a swift UK accession to the 2005 Protocols to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation / Platforms, and NATO deepened cooperation for the protection of Red Ensign interests.
  • 24-25 May: he participated in the Annual Conference of the University of Virginia School of Law Center for Oceans Law & Policy, which provides the most high-profile forum to discuss internationally the law of the sea while capturing political, economic and civil society’s attention. This year it was held in Beijing, co-organized by the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, the Chinese Society of International Law and Korea Maritime Institute. Themed “Cooperation and Engagement in the Asia Pacific Region”, the conference focused on issues of regional concerns such as protection and preservation of marine environment, strait governance, shipping, search and rescue, freedom of navigation, sustainable fisheries, preservation of marine biodiversity beyond borders of national jurisdiction, and regional cooperation. Dr Ntovas sat on the Shipping panel chaired by the President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Professor Paik Jin-Hyun, and he presented on the matter of Maritime Labour Standards and the Principle of 'no more favourable treatment'.
  • 22 May: he delivered a guest lecture at the Peking Law School on ‘The English admiralty jurisdiction through a narrative focused on the notion of marine adventure and maritime perils’ at the kind invitation of Professor Guo Yu, Director of the Maritime Law Research Centre.


  • 22 November: he delivered a guest lecture under the title of ‘From traditional to contemporary incidents, and “wet” accidents, affecting commercial vessels during maritime voyage: The role of shipping law with emphasis on the English jurisdiction’ at the Department of Maritime Studies, University of Piraeus, following the invitation of Professor Stratos Papadimitriou.
  • 12-13 July: he delivered a paper on “The advent of FLNG facilities, and the ensuing question over their regulatory status in law” at The Global Shipping Law Forum London Edition. The Forum is a collaborative initiative of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London, the Centre for Maritime Law of the National University of Singapore and the TC Beirne School of Law of the University of Queensland. Following the successful launch of the forum in Singapore in December 2015, the second edition of the Forum, generously hosted and sponsored by Ince & Co, was held in London on 12th and 13th July 2017 with the theme of Shipping and Energy: The Role of the Law.
  • 7 April: he chaired the ‘Policy and Regulation’ panel at the Eighth Maritime Law and Policy Conference of The London Universities Maritime Law and Policy Research organised by the City, University of London.
  • 1 March: he coordinated with Professor Malgosia Fitzmaurice, chair of Public International Law DoL QMUL, under the general coordination of Professor David J. Attard, IMO IMLI Director and Judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea,  the ‘Volume II: UN Specialized Agencies and Global Ocean Governance’ in the Report on Ocean Governance: Security, Stability, Safety, and Sustainability (IMO: The International Maritime Law Institute), contracted by The Nippon Foundation .


  • 7 December: he was invited to the 12th Annual Forum of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Greek Branch, «Future Imperfect: Shipping’s route out of crisis», hosted at the Eugenides Foundation. The Forum was well attended by over 400 shipping professionals – from the Greek and International shipping community – covering all spectrums of the industry. Dr Ntovas’ views, among other questions during the panel and the ensuing discussion were hosted in the international shipping industry magazine Naftika Chronika (Ναυτικά Χρονικά), issue No. 196 (2017).
  • 30 September – 1 October: he was invited to take part in the proceedings of the international conference “Stress Testing the Law of the Sea”, which was hosted by the Transnational Law Institute in collaboration with the Law of the Sea Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and additionally sponsored by The Institute for Global Challenges and the Law, Berkeley Law. Dr Ntovas delivered his paper On Enrica Lexie and “...of any other person in the service of the ship”, in which he addressed the critical role of UNCLOS Article 92 in the on-going proceedings. 
  • 21-23 September: he was invited by The Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, a US Department of Defence research centre, based on Hawaii, that undertakes executive education for military and diplomatic personnel, to a closed-door workshop addressing policy discussions over the “Management of the Indo-Asia-Pacific’s Maritime Future”. Dr Ntovas delivered his expert submission on “Maritime piracy and armed robbery in Southeast Asia – Recent developments: emerging links with terrorism?”.
  • 1 September: he was invited by The International Institute of Marine Surveying, to take part in the celebrations of the Institute’s 25th anniversary and silver jubilee in London on 31 August and 1 September 2016, and to deliver a paper at its anniversary conference on the topic “Unmanned commercial vessels: What may lay ahead for marine surveyors in the context of classification?”.
  • 22 July: he was invited by the European Law Students Association, to deliver a lecture on “Private armed guards on board ships: Policy issues, legal status and insurance implications”, at the summer school ‘Maritime Law: Insurance law and piracy issues’, in Athens, Greece.
  • 1 July: The leading Greek newspaper in shipping and finance (“Η Ναυτεμπορική”) featured his expert views on ‘Unmanned commercial vessels: the next fundamental innovation in the shipping industry?’(available in the English edition).
  • 29 July: he was invited by the Transnational Law Institute of The Dickson Poon School of Law, at King’s College London, to deliver a research seminar on the matter of private armed guards, in the context of Transnational Regulatory Governance meeting.
  • 27 June: he delivered with the Director of the Institute of Maritime Law (IML), Southampton, Professor Michael Tsimplis a paper on ‘Defining a ship within the prospect of unmanned navigation’ at the IML conference ‘At the cutting edge of Commercial Law – the latest developments’, which was held in London at the premises of the Norton Rose Fulbright. Dr Ntovas was a governing board member of the IML until January 2016, when he joined the Queen Mary University of London, School of Law, Centre for Commercial Law Studies.
  • 7–9 June: invited by the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Centre, to speak at the international conference ‘Challenges to Maritime Security Derived from Transnational Organized Crime at Sea’, which was hosted at the Souda naval base, Greece. Dr Ntovas delivered his paper on the matter of the “Regulation of privately contracted armed personnel on board merchant vessels in the context of transitional securitization of the international system”.
  • 2 June: delivered a paper on “Private armed guards on board ships: Reflections on the ongoing M/V Enrica Lexie proceedings”, commented by Mr Stephen Askins (Partner, Tatham Macinnes), on the Piracy panel of the 2nd CCLS International Shipping Law Roundtable on the subject of Piracy, Refugees, War Risks and Sanctions: The Impact on Maritime Trade.
  • 2 June: he led with Dr Miriam Goldby in the organisation of the s econd CCLS International Shipping Law Roundtable which discussed Piracy, Refugees, War Risks and Sanctions: The Impact on Maritime Trade. The event was hosted in the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and sponsored by the eminent Stone Chambers.
  • 22 April: invited by the European Maritime Pilots Association in the port of Antwerp, Brussels, to speak at the conference ‘Unmanned ships: A real challenge for pilotage?’. Dr Ntovas sat on the panel with Mr Oskar Levander (Rolls Royce) and Professor Eric Van Hooydonk (Ghent University), and delivered his paper on “Pilotage requirements and the prospect of unmanned commercial vessels”.
  • 23–24 February: invited to the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law at U.S. Naval War College (Newport, Rhode Island), and took part in the closed-door workshop proceedings “Korean Maritime Security and International Law” designed to seek paths to East Asian regional security, that was jointly hosted by the U.S. Naval War College and the Korea Maritime Institute.
  • 28 January: interviewed and extensively quoted in the article ‘Full steam ahead for unmanned ships?’, appearing on the website Great Circle, which presents the latest news and trends affecting the maritime industry.
  • 15 January: submitted – as co-investigator (with Professor M. Tsimplis (leading investigator), Professor S. Quinn (project manager), Professor A. Serdy, and Mr R. Veal) – a report on the Liability for Operations in Unmanned Maritime Vehicles with Differing Levels of Autonomy, contracted by the European Defence Agency for €149,305.


  • 30 September: chaired a panel regarding the implications in relation to contracts for the carriage of goods by sea and marine insurance, in a workshop on ‘Boat people: Some legal and practical considerations relating to migration by sea’, organised by the Institute of Maritime Law Southampton.
  • 25-26 September: presented a paper on The Legal considerations over autonomous ships, at The Nautical Institute (London Branch) Maritime Excellence Programme, ‘Autonomous Ships – What does the future hold?’, in Bristol.
  • 17 August-4 September: delivered the sessions on ‘Piracy’ and the ‘International Safety Management Code & Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping’, at the 42nd Maritime Law Short Course of the Institute of Maritime Law, Southampton.
  • 21 July: appeared in the investigative documentary Qui contrôle la mer? (directed by Baudouin Koenig), and interviewed (by Michel Koutouzis) for matters considering maritime security in the context of globalisation and the economy of the sea; ARTE TV Franco-German network.


  • 4-6 September: presented a paper on Structural semantics and the International Court of Justice – the interpretative concept of textual structures as a supplementary means in ascertaining the ‘ordinary meaning’ of treaty provisions, at the 10th Anniversary Conference of the European Society of International Law, ‘International Law and Boundaries of International Law and Bridges to Other Fields and Disciplines’, in Vienna.
  • 18 August-5 September: delivered the session on ‘Piracy’ at the 41st Maritime Law Short Course of the Institute of Maritime Law, Southampton.
  • 25-26 June: formally invited by the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia to deliver two 3-hour lectures on The Legal regulation of laid-up ships and The international legal framework for the decommission of offshore platforms: UNCLOS and the evolving standards by the IMO, in the context of a seminar considering the protection of the marine environment with a view to critically assessing the current national, regional and international law on marine pollution. The seminar took place on Putrajaya, and it was attended by more than 90 civil servants as well as by members of regulatory organizations, legal firms and shipping and oil companies, including corporations specializing in the provision of lay-up, salvage and decommissioning services.


  • 3 December: interviewed and quoted by Paul Rubens’ BBC News Business article ‘Underwater hotel rooms: Is down becoming the new up?’.
  • 22-23 November: presented a paper on The role of the EU and US in the establishment of the compatibility principle for the conservation and management of straddling stocks, at the Joint Symposium of the American Society of International Law and the European Society of International Law Interest Groups on International Environmental Law, ‘The Changing Nature of International Environmental Law: Evolving Approaches of the United States and the European Union’, which was hosted by The Graduate Institute in Geneva.
  • 29-31 August: presented a paper on Transjurisdictional fishery resources and the constitutionalisation effect of compulsory dispute settlement procedures, at the International Law Association Regional Conference ‘Imperium Juris: Governance, Trade, Resources’, in Athens.


  • 13 September: presented a paper on Clausal construction in the law of the sea treaties, at the inaugural meeting of the Law of the Sea Interest Group of the European Society of International Law, Valencia.
  • 13-15 September: presented a paper on The sea of deviation: regional approaches to the principle of compatibility, at the 5th European Society of International Law Biennial Conference, ‘Regionalism and International Law’, in Valencia.


  • 27-28 April: presented a paper on The paradox of Kosovo’s parallel legal orders: Withering away resolutions?, at the International Law Association British Branch Spring Conference ‘States, peoples and minorities: States, peoples and minorities: whither the nation in international law?’, in Sheffield.

Related news