The Head of External Relations Office of IMO Lectures at IMLI

21 Feb 2019

Ms. Nihan Ünlü (Head, External Relations Office, Legal Affairs and External Relations Division of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)) visited IMLI on 8 February 2019 and gave a lecture on ‘The Legal Regime of Straits used for International Navigation’ to the IMLI Class of 2018-2019.

Ms. Ünlü’s lecture was mainly on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, focusing on the innocent and transit passage regimes for straits used for international navigation. She also looked at the legal regime of straits in which the passage was regulated in whole or in part by long-standing international conventions.

She further explained how UNCLOS provided a special regime for straits used for international navigation and allowed a right of transit passage for all vessels subject to duties of proceeding without delay, refraining from any threat of force or any other activities not incident to their normal modes of transit. She mentioned that UNCLOS required ships in transit passage to comply with generally accepted international regulations regarding safety at sea, collisions and the control of pollution.

At the end of her lecture, Ms. Nihan Ünlü describes IMLI in the following words:


IMLI today is a world-recognized centre for the training of law graduates in international maritime law. Its main purpose is to ensure that sufficient maritime law experts, with the appropriate knowledge and skills, are available and ready to meet current challenges. This is especially important for developing countries, where assistance in the implementation and enforcement of international maritime law, including conventions developed by IMO, is most beneficial. Accordingly, the Institute is immensely important for IMO and its Member States.

As you are aware, the 2019 World Maritime Day theme is “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”. In this regard, I was particularly impressed to note that IMLI has attached great importance to gender equality when choosing its candidates.

Ms. Nihan Ünlü currently serves as the Head of IMO’s External Relations Office. From 2003 to 2013, Ms. Ünlü was a Legal Officer at the Organization’s Legal Affairs and External Relations Division. Before joining IMO, she was a member of the Turkish delegation to IMO. She was previously a lecturer at the Holborn College, London, where she taught the English Legal System, Public International Law, Contract Law and International Trade law. She also worked at a corporate law firm in Turkey where she advised Governments and private entities on contract law and public international law. She completed her doctorate at the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom. Ms. Ünlü has published in the field of the law of the sea and is also the author of a book entitled “The legal regime of the Turkish straits”.