Dr Vishal Surbun

Dr Vishal Surbun

Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +27 31 260 3599
Email: surbun@ukzn.ac.za
Campus: Howard College
Building & Room: HC Building – Suite H, 1st Floor


Dr. Vishal Surbun is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law and the Unit for Maritime Law and Maritime Studies. He has lectured the Maritime Law module on the LL.B programme for the past decade. This is one of the most popular elective modules and has been a nursery for students to develop an interest in maritime law, some of whom progress to read for postgraduate qualifications in Maritime Law and practise in this specialist field. He is a founding faculty member of the Unit for Maritime Law and Maritime Studies and he supervised the Unit’s first graduates. He facilitates the Incidents of Navigation module on the LL.M program in Maritime Law with seminars on: Shipwreck, salvage, ship collisions, courts of marine enquiry, maritime safety and security and places of refuge for ships in distress. He supervises LL.M and Ph.D students of the Unit.

His research interest lies in the field of the Law of the Sea, particularly maritime jurisdiction, maritime security and African regional maritime policy. Vishal has acted as an expert peer reviewer for the South African Law Journal, The South African Yearbook of International Law and for publications of the Institute for Security Studies and the CSIR. He is also a regular external examiner for Maritime Law and the Law of the Sea related postgraduate programs of the University of Cape Town, Nelson Mandela University and the University of Pretoria.

Academic Qualifications

  • LLB (Natal)
  • LLM (Maritime Law) (UKZN)
  • PhD (UKZN)
  • Thesis: ‘Piracy jure gentium in territorial seas: a perspective from the East African seaboard’ (2018)
  • Link to full-text download: click here (open access).

Professional Qualifications

  • Attorney of the High Court of South Africa
  • Notary Public of the High Court of South Africa

Professional Memberships

  • The Legal Practice Council (formerly a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society)
  • The Maritime Law Association of South Africa
  • The Society of Law Teachers of Southern Africa
  • The Commonwealth Legal Education Association
  • The Indian Ocean Rim Association Academic Group

Recent Publications

  • ‘Africa’s combined exclusive maritime zone concept’ (February 2021) 32 Institute for Security Studies Africa Report 1-20.
  • Charting South Africa’s global maritime foreign policy and its global and regional memberships in the maritime realm’ (2019) 47(2) Scientia Militaria: South African Journal of Military Studies 19-51.
  • ‘The Regulation of Offshore Seismic Surveys in South Africa’s Maritime Realm’ (2016) 2 South African Journal of Environmental Law and Policy 129-157.
  • ‘Shifting Sand and Shifting Jurisdiction: Sea Level Change and its Implications for Maritime Sovereignty in Southern Africa’ (2015) South African Yearbook of International Law 263-280.

Supervised Students