International armed conflicts in the twenty-first century will not be limited only to terrestrial territories of the opposing forces. Seas will not only be used for long term dislocation and concentration of forces, but will again become a theater of war operations. Future armed conflicts will have a significant impact on international shipping activities since 90% of world trade is conducted via maritime shipping. Thus, it can be concluded that all the countries of the world are deeply dependent on undisturbed and free shipping trade. In this article, the author focuses on the issue of protecting neutral shipping. Naval war law and maritime neutrality are issues described by recognized legal frameworks that apply to international conflicts at sea. They do, however, have a number of deficiencies, which renders difficult the effective protection of neutral shipping from the negative impacts of war. One of the problems is the scope of the application of the maritime neutrality law. Another problem is the lack of the obligation of a neutral country to execute the necessary monitoring with the aim of preventing its citizens from cooperating with one or all of the parties to the conflict. Additionally, the warring parties will rarely be able to identify the real character of a cargo ship. The will in the international community to codify naval war law and maritime neutrality will be lacking in the near future.
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