Russia: Novosibirsk Islands Federal Nature Sanctuary established

On the 2 March 2018, the Russian Government signed the directive (Распоряжение от 2 марта 2018 года №352-р) establishing the Novosibirsk Islands Federal Nature Sanctuary. Found within the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the sanctuary covers “the Novosibirsk Islands Archipelago and adjoining waters (a section of inland sea and the territorial sea of the Russian Federation with a width of 12 nautical miles adjoining the territory of the Novosibirsk Islands Archipelago)”. This is in accordance with Federal Law of March 14, 1995 No. 33-FZ “On Specially Protected Natural Territories”.

For more information, see press release (English), Order №352-р (in Russian), and Federal Law No. 33-FZ (in Russian).

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Call for papers: Daniel Vignes prize (2nd edition)

The International Association for the Law of the Sea (AssIDMer) welcomes applications for its Prix Daniel Vignes (2ème Edition), “a prize for the best article published in a journal or a collective work, to disseminate knowledge of the international law of the sea”, until 15 April 2018.

The prize will be officially awarded during the VII Ordinary Meeting of the Association. For further information, see the announcement, regulations, and prize homepage.

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Cyprus: EEZ hydrocarbon-related activities contested

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, which does not have diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cyprus, has objected (11 February 2018) to the “Greek Cypriot Administration’s hydrocarbon-related activities in the Eastern Mediterranean” which are said to be “in disregard of the inalienable rights on natural resources of the Turkish Cypriot people, who are the co-owners of the Island”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has stated (13 February 2018) that “as long as the Greek Cypriot side continues to take unilateral steps that disregard our legitimate rights over the Island’s natural resources” it would take “reciprocal steps”. The President of the Republic Cyprus has reaffirmed (21 February 2018) that its intentions are to “to fully explore and exploit the hydrocarbon potential in its exclusive economic zone”.

This exchange follows the issuance by the Turkish Naval Force of a NAVTEX message which prevented a ENI-owned drillship from accessing Block 3 due to military training set to occur in the area. The Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center has responded (27 January 2018) with another NAVTEX message, which described Turkey’s activity as “unauthorised and illegal”. The President of the European Council has meanwhile referred (23 February 2018) to “Turkey’s illegal violations in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean” and reiterated support for “the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources”. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece also criticised (6 March 2018) Turkey’s position, saying that Turkey “cannot pursue an aggressive foreign policy, not respecting international law and choosing to ignore or circumvent the Law of the Sea”.


Cyprus offshore exploration blocks. Source: Republic of Cyprus, Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism (Twitter)

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EU: Application of the Gas Directive to the EEZ would be contrary to UNCLOS

The Legal Service of the Council of the European Union issued its opinion, 1 March 2018, Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC – compatibility with UNCLOS, ST 6738 2018 INIT. The opinion states that:

“The Union does not have jurisdiction to apply energy law on unbundling, transparency, third-party access and regulated tariffs, which is unrelated to the economic exploitation of the EEZ, to pipelines crossing the EEZ of Member States. The application of the Gas Directive to the EEZ would be contrary to Articles 56 and 58 of UNCLOS as interpreted by the Court of Justice” (para. 21).

For more information, see the opinion here. Reference to the opinion was made during an EC press briefing, available here.

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Moot Court: ITLOS – underwater historical and cultural heritage

The Brazilian Institute for the Law of the Sea (IBDMAR), in partnership with the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), shall host their first ITLOS moot court competition, Republic of Disali Vs. Kingdom of Brismania2-4 August 2018, at the Federal University of Bahia (Salvador, Bahia, Brazil). Registration is open until 1 June 2018.

For more information please see the official case, competition rules, and registration page.

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Australia/Timor-Leste: Treaty establishing maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea signed

Following previous coverage (here), Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Timor-Leste’s Deputy Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Boundary Delimitation, signed the Treaty Between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Establishing Their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea, 6 March 2018, at the United Nations Headquarters. The agreement may be found here.

For further information, see the respective press releases of Timor-Leste (2),  Australia (2) and the PCA. A video of the proceedings is available here.


Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea. Source: Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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CBD: Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol enters into force

The Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, adopted 15 October 2010, entered into force 5 March 2018 with 41 contracting parties. The instrument provides for rules and procedures on liability and redress for damage resulting from transboundary movements of living modified organisms. Article 2(2)(b) defines “damage” to biodiversity.

For more information see the Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol, press releasefactsheet and status.

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