Since 1 July 2013, the first incumbent of the Chair is Prof Patrick HG Vrancken who, until then, was the Head of the Department of Public Law. During the first 18 months in that position, Prof Vrancken played a leading role in advising SAMSA, other organs of State and Nelson Mandela University in their efforts to develop the maritime training and research capacity in South Africa.

Professor Vrancken is a member of the International Law Association's Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise. He was the Deputy Leader of the Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance Lab held in Durban from the 7th of July to the 14th of August 2014 as part of Operation Phakisa. He is the Chairperson of the DHET Operation Phakisa Skills Initiative Working Group for Marine Protection and Governance. He is also a member of the advisory board of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI).

Prof Vrancken is the leader of the LLM (Ocean Governance) coursework programme, a research-programme co-leader in the One Ocean Hub, a co-leader in the Algoa Bay Community of Practice and the principal investigator of the Community of Practice on the Ocean Account Framework. He is also the South Africa designated expert at the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO), an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Wollongong and a Visiting Professor at Gothenburg University (2020-2022).

Professor Vrancken is the author of a monograph entitled South Africa and the Law of the Sea published in 2011 by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. He was one of the two editors of, and a contributor to, P Vrancken & M Tsamenyi (eds) The Law of the Sea - The African Union and its Member States (2017). He leads now a six-volume book project on The Law of the Sea - Contemporary Norms and Practice in Africa. He is one of the editors of the Ports Law Handbook and the managing editor of the Journal of Ocean Governance in Africa.

Professor Vrancken's research foci include State ocean jurisdiction, the law of the sea in Africa, transnational organised fisheries crime, port law and marine tourism law. His recent publications include, among others:

P Vrancken “Life below Water” (2021) Encyclopedia of Law and Development 184-186.

P Vrancken & C Hugo “African perspectives on selected marine, maritime and international trade law topics” (2020).

P Vrancken “The 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy: The Combined Exclusive Maritime Zone of Africa as an instrument of sustainable development of the African Large Marine Ecosystems” (2020) 36 Environmental Development 100557 1-7.

P Vrancken, E Witbooi & J Glazewski “Introduction and overview: Transnational organised fisheries crime” (2019) 105 Marine Policy 116-122.

P Vrancken “State jurisdiction to investigate and try fisheries crime at sea” (2019) 105 Marine Policy 129-139.

P Vrancken “The identity of the coastal State ‒ Reflections following two judicial pronouncements in the Chagos Archipelago dispute” (2019) 1(2) Seychelles Research Journal 15-23.

P Vrancken “The African perspective on global ocean governance” in DJ Attard (ed) The IMLI Treatise on Global Ocean Governance (OUP 2018) I 216-231.

"Articles 312-316", "Annex IV, articles 1-13" and "Annex VI, articles 1-19 and 35-41" in A Proelss (ed) United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Commentary Munich: Verlag CH Beck (2017).

"The delimitation of maritime boundaries on Africa’s eastern seaboard" (2016) 1 Journal of Ocean Law and Governance in Africa 54-104 (with SY Ntola).

"Birth, marriage and death at sea" (2015) 40 South African Yearbook of International Law (forthcoming) (with F Marx).

"GATT", "ICAO", "UNCLOS" and "World Summit on Sustainable Development" entries in C Cater, B Garrod & T Low (eds) Encyclopedia of Sustainable Tourism (2015).

"International Law of the Sea in South Africa" in E de Wet, H Hestermeyer & R Wolfrum (eds) The Reception of International Law in South Africa – Strengthening the Rule of Law by Following the German Model? (2015) 144-179.

"Land sovereignty and LOSC: The Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration (Republic fo Mauritius v United Kingdom)" (2014) 39 South African Yearbook of International Law 105-134.

"Marine and Maritime Law in South Africa" in N Funke, M Claassen, R Meissner & K Nortje (eds) Reflections on the State of Research and Technology in South Africa’s Marine and Maritime Sectors Pretoria: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (2014) 18-42 (with A Pike).

"The role of the African Union in combating piracy" (2014) spec ed 1 Acta Criminologica 53-75.


Last updated: 2021.02.19. A.A

Contact information
Professor Patrick Vrancken
Incumbent of the South African Research Chair in the Law of the Sea and Development in Africa
Tel: 27 41 504 2200