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

Associate Professor of Maritime Law

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Dr Ntovas first joined the University of Southampton in 2007 as a doctoral scholarship recipient to pursue his PhD, receiving immediately after its completion a full-time law lectureship in the Law School, where he was also a Governing Board Member of the Institute of Maritime Law. In 2016 he moved to the University of London, at Queen Mary’s Centre for Commercial Law Studies and the King’s College London, Dickson Poon School of Law, where he extensively lectured, developed new programmes, researched and provided consultancy in the areas of shipping, offshore energy and natural resources, law of the sea and ocean governance. In 2019 he rejoined the University of Southampton Law School as Associate Professor of Maritime Law, at the level of Readership, and the Director of the Institute of Maritime Law (2020–2023).

He belongs to the new generation of international maritime lawyers, who are competent to perceive, appreciate and undertake the challenging task of addressing 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 in the areas of public and administrative law, and acted on numerous occasions as an invited expert advocate and policy advisor to governments, including the European Union, the public sector and the shipping industry. Maritime labour law, cyber-security of ships and ports, freedom of navigation, piracy and transnational organised crime, decommission of platforms and ship-recycling, contemporary naval warfare and the future regulation of unmanned maritime systems and vessels, reflect some of the professional areas that he has been involved in at various stages. His substantive expertise within the Institute of Maritime Law lies in shipping regulation, admiralty – with a focus on wet shipping aspects, navigational freedoms and practice, marine environmental law, as well as in all issues regarding contemporary safety and security of ships, ports and offshore installations.

His background amalgamates the broader legal disciplines of international and European Union law, at both public and private level, with political analysis and international relations, as these find a common expression in the context of maritime law, naval practices, the law of the sea and oceanic policy. He moreover enjoys a strong academic background in public international law, particularly in the law of treaties and international dispute settlement, while his further interests cover also the niche areas of legal historiography and reasoning within an interdisciplinary perspective. He publishes internationally on the above matters, as well as speaking in high-profile international fora and conferences.

Research interests

Dr Ntovas’ general research interests cover the areas of admiralty, the regulation of international shipping, international law of the sea; with particular reference to ocean governance, functional regimes, navigational freedoms and practice, public international law – regarding dispute settlement and treaty interpretation, and European Union law in public and administrative matters.

His primary research interests cover an extensive part of the shipping spectrum in international, European Union, and national legislation (especially in the United Kingdom and Greece) with a view to assessing its adoption, implementation and enforcement in a wide range of substantive fields, wherein based on the precepts of the market economy and promotion of public interest alike, the uniformity and consistency of maritime law can be improved and progressively developed across domestic jurisdictions.

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 maritime law, or soon they will do so. He is currently researching, among other topics, on matters concerning:

  • abusive flag jurisdiction practices and sub-standard vessels in relation to evolving port-State control, including non-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 treatment of stowaways;
  • naval hybrid warfare, maritime terrorism and asymmetric threats, such as cyber-terrorism against the safety and security of vessels and ports, including extended terminals;
  • navigational law, 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 vessel and its crew;
  • protection and preservation of the marine environment, including living resources;
  • ocean governance and management of the commons;
  • various aspects of the developing unmanned maritime vehicles and systems with differing levels of autonomy.

PhD Supervision

Dr Ntovas welcomes enquiries and proposals for supervision from potential graduate applicants interested in pursuing doctoral studies in any of the fields of his expertise, and related interdisciplinary areas, as set out above.

Research group

Institute of Maritime Law

Affiliate research group

Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Director of the Institute of Maritime Law (February 2020–2023)

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  • Ntovas, A. X. M. (Other), Tsimplis, M. N. (Other), Hjalmarsson, J. (Other), & Koenig, B. (Other). (2015). Qui controle la mer?. Digital or Visual Products

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Dr Ntovas is a Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy and derives extensive experience in teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in higher education from universities within the United Kingdom and abroad through previous visiting arrangements and/or by formal invitations, in addition to discharging duties of external examiner. As part of his administrative and management duties, he has in the past served in the roles of the LL.M. programme director, as well as that of academic co-ordinator for offsite intensively delivered taught courses, and has developed a number of new modules in the areas of his expertise. Moreover, he conducts frequently training seminars and participates in devising and offering executive professional courses for practitioners, government cadres and members of the judiciary, naval academies, policy institutional establishments and international organisations. He is currently engaged in co-leading and teaching the following modules:

Ntovas, A. (2019, 26 July), was invited to deliver a 3hour lecture on the topic of  “Ships in Need of Assistance” at the International Law of the Sea Summer Academy, which featured international tribunal judges, academics and practitioners specialized in maritime and law of the sea area, at the Kadir Has University, İstanbul, Turkey.

Ntovas, A. (2018, 22 May) 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.

Ntovas, A. (2017, 22 November) 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.

Ntovas, A. (2017, 7 April) 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.

Ntovas, A. (2017, 1 March) 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.

Ntovas, A. (2016, 7 December) 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).

Ntovas, A. (2016, 21-23 September) 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?”.

Ntovas, A. (2016, 1 September) 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?”.

Ntovas, A. (2016, 22 July) 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.

Ntovas, A. (2016, 1 July) was featured in the  leading Greek newspaper in shipping and finance (“Η Ναυτεμπορική”) through his expert views on ‘Unmanned commercial vessels: the next fundamental innovation in the shipping industry?'

Ntovas, A. (2016, 29 June) 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.

Ntovas, A. (2016, 23–24 February) was 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.

Ntovas, A. (2016, 28 January) was interviewed and extensively quoted in the article ‘Full steam ahead for unmanned ships?’, appearing on the technologist blog ‘Great Circle’, which presents the latest news and trends affecting the maritime industry.

Ntovas, A. (2016, 15 January) (with Professor M. Tsimplis (leading investigator), Professor S. Quinn (project manager), Professor A. Serdy (co-investigator), and Mr R. Veal) submitted – as co-investigator– a report on the Liability for Operations in Unmanned Maritime Vehicles with Differing Levels of Autonomy, contracted by the European Defence Agency.

Ntovas, A. (2015, 30 September) chaired the panel regarding the implications in relation to contracts for the carriage of goods by sea and marine insurance, in the workshop on ‘Boat people: Some legal and practical considerations relating to migration by sea’, organised by the Institute of Maritime Law Southampton.

Ntovas, A. (2015, 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.

Ntovas, A. (2015, 25-26 June) was 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.

Ntovas, A. (2013, 3 December) was interviewed and quoted by Paul Rubens’ BBC News Business article ‘Underwater hotel rooms: Is down becoming the new up?’.

Dr Alexandros X.M. Ntovas
Southampton Law School, Building 4, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

Room Number: 4/2047


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