Πετροπούλου - Καρκαλά, Βάϊα Ι.
This work has a meaning if it passes on to the reader the great need for places of refuge for ships in distress, to be established in maritime countries all over the world. Extensive reference is being made to grave ship accidents of the past which have occurred at seas across the world and have caused severe environmental pollution and economic damage. Later, they forced the international shipping community to create organizations (and legislation) in which the majority of the maritime countries take part (IMO, ESPO, SAR, CMI). However, it seems impossible for the coastal states to agree to or reach a common decision on the issue of granting place of refuge to a vessel in distress. The reason is not only the differences between each country's maritime and coastal environment, but other factors like the legislation (Belgium), the vast distances (Australia), the diversity of the climate across a country (USA) and the great number of islands that depend on tourism (Greece). The case of the Aegean Archipelagos is analyzed, as best as possible. A general view of the matter of places of refuge is being given and legal and technical issues produced during the establishment of places of refuge all around the world are examined. Strategies and plans of facing a potential disastrous situation of a ship in distress, in countries with coastline, are analyzed. Criteria for selecting the place of refuge and the proper way to grant it are discussed, according to the laws of the case country. Nevertheless, granting place of refuge to a vessel in distress is not without great problems due to the numerous effects that can be caused to the environment and the nearby inhabitants.