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Mandatory coverage

What maritime risks must be covered under the law and what is the mandatory level of coverage?

The carriage of oil must be covered under the Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1992. Pursuant to EU Directive 2009/20/EC for the limited liabilities provided by the London Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, the insurance is mandatory up to the amount of limitation. Italy enacted the directive with Legislative Decree 111/2012; therefore, insurance is compulsory for both Italian and foreign vessels to which the decree applies. 

Insurable risks and ships

What other risks are typically covered by marine insurance contracts concluded in your jurisdiction and what ships are insurable?

Marine insurance contracts typically cover:

  • cargo;
  • hulls and machinery; and
  • protection and indemnity insurance liability.

Subrogation rights

What is the legal regime governing marine insurers’ subrogation rights?

The insurer that paid the insurance indemnity is subrogated by law in its insured rights up to the amount paid and is subject to the same exceptions and limitations as the insured.

Marine accidents

Collision and pollution

What rules and procedures (under both domestic and international law) apply to the prevention of, liability for and remedy of:

(a) Collision?

The Collision Convention 1910.

(b) Oil pollution?

The rules governing oil pollution are:

  • the Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1992;
  • the Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Oil Pollution Damage 1992;
  • the Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage 2001; and
  • Law 979/1982 on the defence of the sea.

(c) Other environmental damage caused by a ship?

Law 979/1982 on the defence of the sea.


What is the legal regime governing salvage and general average?

The regime comprises the International Convention on Salvage 1989 and Italian law. The York-Antwerp Rules are also applicable.

Places of refuge

What framework governs access to places of refuge for ships in distress?

The framework comprises:

  • Legislative Decree 196/2005 enacting EU Directive 2002/59/EC Establishing a Community Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System;
  • Law 979/1982 on the defence of the sea; and
  • the International Maritime Organisation Guidelines on Places of Refuge for Ships in Need of Assistance (Resolution A.949(23)).

Wreck removal

What rules and procedures apply to the removal of wrecks in your jurisdiction?

Article 73 of the Navigation Code establishes that in the case of a ship drowning in port or in the Italian territorial sea, the harbour master can order the wreck removal at the expense of the shipowner if they determine that the ship poses a danger to navigation, and can fix a term for removal. 

The Nairobi Convention on Wreck Removal 2007 has not yet been ratified.

Under what circumstances can the authorities order removal of wreckage?

In case of emergency or if the shipowner fails to comply with the harbour master’s order, the latter will provide for the removal and sale of the wreck. Expenses will be attributed to the shipowner’s account.