Vacancy: Research Assistant/Associate at Center for Strategic & International Studies

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is currently advertising a full-time position as a Research Assistant/Associate within the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), based in Washington, D.C. (USA). For more information see here.

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ICJ: Sovereignty over the Sapodilla Cayes (Belize/Honduras)

On 16 November 2022 Belize submitted an Application instituting proceedings against the Republic of Honduras with regard to a dispute concerning territorial sovereignty over the Sapodilla Cayes. As an application concerning a purported territorial sovereignty dispute over maritime features, the case –and any resulting Judgment– is of relevance to the application of the law of the sea, but is not itself a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the law of the sea.

Nonetheless, the Application relies upon, among others, purported exercises of coastal state rights and jurisdiction to demonstrate a manifestation of sovereignty over the Sapodilla Cayes (Application, paras. 10 & 16 e.g. adjudicative jurisdiction concerning salvage claims and piracy; prescriptive jurisdiction over natural resources, fisheries and entry; military and coast guard activities around Sapodilla Cayes; and a definition of territorial sea by reference to the Sapodilla Cayes). A number of documents in the Annexes to the Application instituting proceedings also make reference to the dispute concerning “said cays and adjoining maritime areas” and maritime delimitation. The jurisdiction of the ICJ is based on Article XXXI of the Pact of Bogotá, to which Belize deposited its instrument of accession on 27 October 2022.

Indeed, considerations of maritime delimitation and the previously reported pending case before the ICJ, Guatemala’s Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim (Guatemala/Belize), are evidently a key rationale behind the Application. Various press briefings and Senate Statements by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration of Belize point to the potential for overlapping ‘related’ cases concerning, in part, Sapodilla Cayes, as well as the potential consequences of Honduras intervening in Guatemala’s Territorial, Insular and Maritime Claim (Guatemala/Belize).

For more information see the ICJ Press Release No. 2022/63.

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Vacancy: Postdoc at Utrecht University

The Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL) and the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS) at the Utrecht University School of Law are currently seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher addressing International Shipping Law and the International Law Relating to Antarctica. Applications are welcome until 8 January 2023. For more information see here.

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Call for Abstracts: Developing Robust Ocean Regimes for Uncertain Futures

The Yong Pung How School of Law (Singapore Management University) will host a workshop, entitled, Developing Robust Ocean Regimes for Uncertain Futures, 28 April 2023 at SMU (Singapore). Abstracts are welcome until 15 January 2023. For more information see here.

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ITLOS: The M/T “Heroic Idun” Case (Marshall Islands v. Equatorial Guinea), Discontinued

As previously reported, on 10 November 2022 the Republic of the Marshall Islands had initiated prompt release proceedings against Equatorial Guinea concerning the M/T “Heroic Idun” whilst the vessel and crew were within the jurisdiction, control and custody of Equatorial Guinea. On 11 November 2022, the President of ITLOS via Order 2022/2 fixed the 24 November 2022 as the date for the opening of the hearings.

However, as detailed by the Marshall Islands (Order 2022/3, para 6) and confirmed by a Press Briefing by the Nigerian Navy (Briefing 15 November 2022), on 11 November 2022 “Equatorial Guinea caused the Vessel and her crew to be transferred into the jurisdiction, control and custody of Nigeria”, with the Nigerian Navy escort and M/T Heroic Idun subsequently arriving off Bonny Offshore Terminal II on 12 November 2022. As the Marshall Islands highlighted, “[t]hese developments have regrettably rendered moot the Marshall Islands’ Prompt Release Application […] [a]s a result, the Marshall Islands is compelled to discontinue the proceedings” (Order 2022/3, paras 7-8). On 15 November 2022, the President of ITLOS via Order 2022/3 placed on record the discontinuance of the prompt release proceedings and ordered that the case be removed from the ITLOS list of cases. It should be noted, as of 14 November 2022, “the Government of Equatorial Guinea had not taken any steps in the proceedings” (Order 2022/3, para 10).

According to the Nigerian Navy, the request to Equatorial Guinea to arrest the vessel, the Nigeria/Equatorial Guinea information exchange, the Nigeria/Equatorial Guinea coordination and the transfer of the suspected vessel and persons from Equatorial Guinea to Nigeria was based on the 2013 Code of Conduct Concerning the Repression of Piracy, Armed Robbery Against Ships, and Illicit Maritime Activity in West and Central Africa.

The Nigerian Navy noted a number of domestic legal provisions it believes the M/T Heroic Idun and/or crew “could” have violated. Press reporting on the first arraignment hearing at the Federal High Court Port Harcourt concerning some of the crew members (14 November 2022) list three charges that correlate with some of the Nigerian Navy points, namely two offences under the 2019 Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act and one offence under 2004 Miscellaneous Offences Act. A Statement by OSM, the Ship Manager, offers a different version of the underlying incidents.

For more information see the ITLOS Press Release 324.

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Russia: Resumed Participation in Black Sea Grain Initiative

As previously reported, on 29 October 2022 Russia decided to indefinitely suspend its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. In response, the Ukrainian, Turkish and United Nations delegations agreed to proceed, with “movements and inspections carried out after the Russian Federation suspended its participation in implementation activities at the Joint Coordination Centre [a]s a temporary and extraordinary measure“. Furthermore, on 1 November 2022 Russia reported that Ukraine had provided written guarantees, including that “the maritime humanitarian corridor will be used only in accordance with the provisions of the Black Sea Initiative and the related JCC regulation” and Russia would therefore resume implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative from 2 November 2022. On the 3 November 2022 “the Russian Federation delegation resumed its work at the JCC and joined vessel inspections”. It appears the Republic of Türkiye and the UN played a significant role (2) (3) in returning Russia to the Black Sea Gran Initiative.

As provided in Primary Aspect H. of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the Initiative initially applies until 18 November 2022 (120 days from the date of signature (22 July 2022)). The Initiative will be automatically extended by another 120 days, unless a Party notifies its intent to terminate or modify the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Türkiye has signalled its intent to extend the Initiative, but Russia has signalled its position is subject to further consultations.

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Vacancy: Assistant Professor at the University of Rhode Island

The Department of Marine Affairs (MAF) in the College of Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) at the University of Rhode Island (URI) is seeking an Assistant Professor of Marine Affairs with expertise in Fisheries Management and Policy. Applications remain open until the position has been filled, with full consideration given to applications received by 15 December 2022. For more information see here.

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ITLOS: The M/T “Heroic Idun” Case (Marshall Islands v. Equatorial Guinea), Prompt Release

On 10 November 2022 the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) confirmed receipt of an Application submitted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands, filed against Equatorial Guinea, and thereby entered by ITLOS as Case No. 30: The M/T “Heroic Idun” Case (Marshall Islands v. Equatorial Guinea), Prompt Release. The case concerns a dispute between the Marshall Islands and Equatorial Guinea but as evident in the Application and several press releases by the Nigerian Navy (Press Release 17 August 2022; Press Briefing 19 August 2022; Press Release 9 November 2022), also arrises out of events occurring in the maritime zones of Nigeria.

Of particular interest to Provisional Measures proceedings, the Application submitted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands contends:

Given the paucity of information available to the Applicant at this point, in the absence of any meaningful engagement by Equatorial Guinea in response to the diplomatic and other initiatives by the Applicant, this [Prompt Release] Application does not rest on an asserted breach by the Respondent of Articles 73, 220 or 226 of the Convention. The Applicant reserves the right, however, to amend and supplement this Application, including in the course of a hearing on the matter, to include reference to Article 73, 220 and/or 226 in the event that this is warranted by information that comes to light in the course of these proceedings, whether in the form of claims and submissions by the Respondent or from elsewhere.

[…]

Having regard to the context and the urgency of the present case, and the Tribunal’s settled jurisprudence on a plausibility threshold for purposes of prompt release applications, the Marshall Islands contends that the Tribunal should proceed on the basis of a non-restrictive interpretation of Article 292 in respect of this Application.

[…]

In addition or in the alternative to the preceding, and having regard to the submissions above about the “non-restrictive interpretation” of Article 292 on which the Marshall Islands primarily relies, the Applicant contends that Article 292(4) provides an independent basis – constituting a “provision of the Convention” for purposes of Article 292(1) – on which the Tribunal’s competence to order prompt release can be engaged.

Application submitted by the Republic of the Marshall Islands, paras. 59, 63 and 81.

Of further note, as evident in Paragraph 2 of the Application, the Marshall Islands intends to submit a dispute on the merits to an UNCLOS Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal (Application, Para. 49(e), while not exhaustive, raises Articles 58(1)-(2), 87, 97 & 110 of UNCLOS), as well as a Request for Provisional Measures (Para. 2 of the Application, refers to ITLOS hearing the provisional measures under Article 290(5) of UNCLOS, but this cannot be presumed until the parties to the dispute have failed to reach agreement on a suitable court or tribunal within 2 weeks, and the Arbitral Tribunal has not been formed).

The Submissions of the Marshall Islands are found in Paragraphs 87-88 of the Application, including the usual Prompt Release requests as well as several “requests the President of the Tribunal, relying on the Tribunal’s inherent competence and proprio motu powers, exemplified but not confined by Article 90(4) of the Tribunal’s Rules” concerning safety, security, and cooperation/information exchange between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

For more information see ITLOS Press Release 323.

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Events: International Law and the Nord Stream Leaks

The Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute of the World Maritime University (Sweden) will host a webinar on International Law and the Nord Stream Leaks, to take place on Friday November 18 at 14.00-15.30 CET. The webinar will take the form of a roundtable discussion. More information and a link to register can be found here.

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Webinar: Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea

The Kofi Anan International Peacekeeping Training Center​ (KAIPTC), the Royal Danish Defence College and SIGLA​ (Stellenbosch University) will co-host a webinar, entitled, Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea: Rethinking the Past and Contemplating the Future, 16-17 November 2022, in a hybrid format (KAIPTC, Accra, Ghana/Online). For more information see here.

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Vacancy: Research Associate at University of Strathclyde

The One Ocean Hub at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, UK) is currently seeking a Research Associate (Law), with applications welcome until 29 November 2022. For more information see here.

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Vacancies: tenure-track appointment at Dalhousie University

The Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University (Canada), invites applications for a probationary tenure-track, tenure-track or tenured appointment at the rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor in the areas of Environmental Law, Climate Change and Energy Law, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Oceans LawThe selected candidate is expected to advance the research, teaching and graduate and post-doctoral supervision activities of our Marine and Environmental Law Institute and the associated Marine and Environmental Law Program. Closing date for applications is 17 November 2022. More information is available here.

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Vacancies: PhD Fellow & (2) Postdoc Fellows at University of Tromsø

Three law of the sea focused positions, affiliated to the Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea (NCLOS), Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø, Norway), are currently seeking applicants. The PhD Fellow will propose a project within the theme of sovereignty as both the organizing logic and the central legal principle underpinning the law of the sea and ocean governance, applicants being welcome until 18 December 2022. One Postdoctoral Fellow will joint the research project Developing good ocean governance of the Arctic in times of unpredictable and rapid changes (DOGA), applicants being welcome until 4 December 2022. The other Postdoctoral Fellow will undertake research on the themes Ocean Space, Sovereignty, and/or Ocean Commons, applicants being welcome until 4 December 2022.

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Conference: Dynamics of the Constitution for the Oceans

The Institute for the International Law of the Sea and Maritime Law (University of Hamburg), the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the Länder, and the Law of the Sea Institute of Iceland will organise a conference, entitled, Dynamics of the Constitution for the Oceans: UNCLOS at 40, 9-10 December 2022 in Hamburg, Germany. For more information and registration see here.

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UK/Mauritius: Chagos Archipelago/BIOT Negotiations Begin

On 3 November 2022 the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs made a written ministerial statement in the House of Commons (HCWS354), repeated in the House of Lords (HLWS347), whereby the minister confirmed:

“[T]he UK and Mauritius have decided to begin negotiations on the exercise of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)/Chagos Archipelago.

Through negotiations, taking into account relevant legal proceedings, it is our intention to secure an agreement on the basis of international law to resolve all outstanding issues, including those relating to the former inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago.

[…]

The UK and Mauritius have agreed to engage in constructive negotiations, with a view to arriving at an agreement by early next year.”

HCWS354

Relevant legal proceedings would include domestic proceedings, and at the international level: Chagos Marine Protected Area Arbitration; Delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean (and related Preliminary Objections proceedings) and the Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 (Advisory Opinion).

Of further note, the negotiations are framed around statements that the UK will seek to “strengthen significantly” its cooperation in the Indian Ocean on a range of issues, and “The UK and Mauritius have reiterated that any agreement between our two countries will ensure the continued effective operation of the joint UK/US military base on Diego Garcia”. The USA and India will be kept informed of progress in negotiations and the operation of the military base on Diego Garcia.

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Conference: Effectiveness of UNCLOS Revisited

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Korean Society of International Law and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), will host its Seventh International Conference on the Law of the Sea, entitled, Law of the Sea for the Next Generation: Effectiveness of UNCLOS Revisited, 15-17 November 2022, in a hybrid format (Seoul/Online).

For more information and registration see here.

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Workshop: The Nexus Implied from the Maritime Order in East Asia in 1945-1952

The Asiatic Research Institute, Korea University (ARI) and The Development of International Law In Asia-Korea (DILA-KOREA) will co-host an international workshop entitled, The Nexus Implied from the Maritime Order in East Asia in 1945-1952: Between Indeterminacy and Strategical Ambiguity, 7 November 2022, online (Zoom). For more information see here.

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Events: Preparing for Sea Level Rise

The School of Law of the University of Lisbon (Portugal) is hosting a conference entitled Preparing for Sea Level Rise. This event is set to happen in Lisbon on 18 November 2022. The program of the event is available here.

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Vacancies: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer at University of Wollongong

The Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong (Australia) is advertising a position for a lecturer or senior lecturer. The successful applicants are expected to support a range of research and capacity-building activities through the Indo-Pacific region. Closing date is 29 November 2022; more information is available here.

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Russia: Indefinite Suspension of Participation in Black Sea Grain Initiative

In response to a 29 October 2022 attack on Russian Naval assets located in a naval base on the occupied Ukrainian territory of Sevastopol (UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262), Russia declared it will suspend its implementation of the (previously reported) Black Sea Grain Initiative with immediate effect for an indefinite period on the basis “the Russian side can no longer guarantee the safety of civilian dry cargo ships participating in the Black Sea Grain Initiative”. According to the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), “The Russian Federation delegation also expressed its readiness to cooperate remotely on issues that require immediate decision by the JCC”. No agreement on vessel movements in the corridor was reached for 30 October 2022, but, in order to continue fulfilling the Initiative, “it was proposed that the Turkish and United Nations delegations provide [31 October 2022] 10 inspection teams aiming to inspect 40 outbound vessels”, an inspection plan accepted by the Ukraine delegation and informed to the Russian Federation. The “Ukrainian, Turkish and United Nations delegations agreed on a movement plan for [31 October 2022] for the maritime humanitarian corridor of 16 vessels, 12 outbound and 4 inbound”. The Russian delegation was informed of said movement plans. Among others, the UN Secretary General and Türkiye issued statements in response to the Russian suspension of its participation, the latter suggesting one consequence will be “during this period, there will be no ship exits from Ukraine”.

Earlier, on 20 October 2022, UNCTAD had reported on the contributions of the Black Sea Initiative to global food security. In the week before Russia’s suspension of participation, the JCC had reported on 24 October 2022 on delays and disruptions that had resulted in a backlog of vessels waiting in the territorial waters of Türkiye. A statement by Ukraine attributed these delays to the actions of Russia concerning inspections, while a Russian statement attributed delays to “an artificial traffic jam has been created in the port of Istanbul”.

For further information see the below map of the Black Sea Grain Initiative Shipping Route (25 August 2022) produced by the JCC (Sevastopol is not visible on the map as it lies eastward of the eastern boundary of the map).

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New Zealand: moratorium on deep seabed mining backed

The Government of New Zealand announced its support to a conditional moratorium on deep sea mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction until environmental rules are agreed and backed up by science. The decision follows a review of progress on regulations for deep sea mining in the area managed by the International Seabed Authority, who has a July 2023 deadline to complete the regulations, or Mining Code, before mining applications can be submitted. More information on this announcement can be found in the press release from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This announcement goes in the same direction of a motion by IUCN (see De Maribus report here) and of a decision from the Parliament of Belgium (see De Maribus report here)

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Vanuatu: Announcement of ICJ Core Group of Nations (ICJ AO Initiative)

On 27 October 2022 the Republic of Vanuatu formally announced at the UN General Assembly the composition of the ICJ Core Group of Nations, which currently includes: Antigua & Barbuda, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Germany, Liechtenstein, Federated States of Micronesia, Morocco, Mozambique, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Viet Nam, and Vanuatu. The Core Group of Nations are producing a zero draft of a resolution to be put before the UN General Assembly requesting an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and builds on previously reported formal endorsements by the respective leaders of CARICOM, PIF & OACPS. Note, Antigua & Barbuda is a member of the ICJ Core Group of Nations, aligning with the previously reported support of COSIS for the Vanuatu ICJ Initiative.

The currently reported schedule by the Vanuatu ICJ Initiative notes a zero draft of the proposed UNGA Resolution will be made public by 14 November 2022, opened for informal negotiations by 21 November 2022 and tabled for a vote by the UNGA between December 2022-February 2023 (i.e. during 77th Session of UNGA). The current draft question is not detailed in the Joint Statement, the Vanuatu Press Release, or the Resolution Elements Summary (October 2022), but possibilities are noted:

An opinion of the International Court of Justice could, among other things:

  • Clarify the rights and obligations of States in respect of the adverse impacts of climate change on small island developing states and other climate vulnerable states, in particular, thereby facilitating international cooperation in this area;
  • Encourage States to reflect their highest possible level of ambition, in keeping with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of their different national circumstances, in preparing their NDCs under the Paris Agreement and supporting climate action;
  • Clarify the due diligence requirements relating to climate action for emitters of greenhouse gases– past, present and future, and
  • Clarify the implications for the human rights of present and future generations.
Vanuatu, Joint Statement on behalf of Core Group of Nations, UNGA, 27 October 2022.

For further information, note that UNEP also released its Emissions Gap Report 2022 on 27 October 2022. The executive summary (p. XVI) notes “Policies currently in place with no additional action are projected to result in global warming of 2.8°C over the twenty-first century. Implementation of unconditional and conditional NDC scenarios reduce this to 2.6°C and 2.4°C respectively”. The UNEP Press Release summarises “the international community is still falling far short of the Paris goals, with no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place”.

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Vacancy: Programme Officer at High Seas Alliance

The High Seas Alliance (HSA) is currently seeking a Programme Officer (six months, possible renewal), who will “provide support to the High Seas Alliance (HSA) to implement its strategies to finalise and implement a [BBNJ] Treaty to protect and manage the high seas”. Applications are welcome until 30 October 2022. For more information see here.

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Events: Filling the legal toolbox for working towards ocean sustainability

The Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS) and the Utrecht University Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL), in collaboration with the Centre for International Law (CIR) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, are organizing a workshop entitled Filling the legal toolbox for working towards ocean sustainability: UNCLOS, UNCLOS 2.0 and/or what else? This event is set to take place on 17 and 18 November 2022, in The Hague (Netherlands). Further information about registration, as well as the program of the event, is available here.

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CCAMLR: Ecuador Becomes a Member of the Commission

On 24 June 2022, Ecuador acceded to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, thereby becoming an Acceding Party (Article XXIX). Acceding Parties are bound by the provisions of the CAMLR Convention, but are not permitted to fish in the CAMLR Convention Area, do not participate in decision-making, and do not contribute financially. On 19 October 2022 Ecuador then became a Member of the Commission. Consistent with Article VII(2)(b) of the CAMLR Convention, the press release by CCAMLR Secretariat notes Ecuador is currently engaged in research activities in relation to the marine living resources to which the CAMLR Convention applies. Members are involved in scientific research and/or fishing subject to CCAMLR Conservation Measures (Articles IX & XXI), contribute to the CCAMLR budget (Article XIX) and participate in decision-making (Article XII).

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Conference: The Asian Legal Order

The Faculty of Law at the University of Malaya in collaboration with the Malaysian Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law will host a conference, entitled, The Asian Legal Order: Adoption of Universal Norms or Adaptation of Local Values?, 25 October 2022 in a hybrid format (University of Malaya/Zoom). Session III addresses peace and security in the South China Sea. For more information see here.

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Call for Abstracts: London International Boundary Conference 2022

The London International Boundary Conference 2022 will be held from the 12-13 December 2022, at King’s College London (London, UK), in a hybrid format. The call for papers includes 5 themes, whereby a number of topics may be of interest to those working around the law of the sea. Abstracts are welcome until 4 November 2022.

For more information, see here.

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Israel/Lebanon: Maritime Boundary Line Agreement

On 11 October 2022, the Republic of Lebanon and the State of Israel reached a draft Exchange of Letters Establishing a Permanent Maritime Boundary to delineate their territorial sea and EEZ maritime boundary, with the USA formally acting as a mediator and facilitator between the Parties since 29 September 2020. Pending finalisation, Section 1 would define the maritime boundary as agreed between the Parties for all points seaward of the easternmost point of the maritime boundary line. Section 2 addresses exploration and exploitation of an area refereed to as “the Prospect”.

In order not to prejudice the status of the land boundary, the maritime boundary landward of the easternmost point of the MBL is expected to be delimited in the context of, or in a timely manner after, the Parties’ demarcation of the land boundary. Until such time this area is delimited, the Parties agree that the status quo near the shore, including along and as defined by the current buoy line, remains the same, notwithstanding the differing legal positions of the Parties in this area, which remains undelimited.

Section 1B

For further information see here and here.

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ICJ: Question of Continental Shelf Delimitation (Nicaragua v. Colombia) Order

By Order of 4 October 2022 in the Question of the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between Nicaragua and Colombia beyond 200 Nautical Miles from the Nicaraguan Coast (Nicaragua v. Colombia) the International Court of Justice issued a decision on the organisation of the public hearings. Having regard to Article 48 of the ICJ Statute and to Articles 54(1) and 61(1) of the Rules of Court the ICJ stated and decided that:

Whereas, in the circumstances of the case, before proceeding to any consideration of technical and scientific questions in relation to the delimitation of the continental shelf between Nicaragua and Colombia beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of Nicaragua is measured, the Court considers it necessary to decide on certain questions of law, after hearing the Parties thereon,


Decides that, at the forthcoming oral proceedings in the case, the Republic of Nicaragua and the Republic of Colombia shall present their arguments exclusively with regard to the following two questions:


(1) Under customary international law, may a State’s entitlement to a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of its territorial sea is measured extend within 200 nautical miles from the baselines of another State?

(2) What are the criteria under customary international law for the determination of the limit of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured and, in this regard, do paragraphs 2 to 6 of Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea reflect customary international law? and

Reserves the subsequent procedure for further decision.

Question of the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between Nicaragua and Colombia beyond 200 Nautical Miles from the Nicaraguan Coast (Nicaragua v. Colombia), Order of 4 October 2022, pp. 2-3

As noted in both of the two declarations appended to the Order, the division of the oral proceedings on the merits into two separate parts was previously unprecedented. The Joint Declaration of Judges Tomka, Xue, Robinson, Nolte and Judge ad hoc Skotnikov offers critical reflection on the Order of 4 October 2022, while the Declaration of Judge Abraham is supportive of the Order of 4 October 2022. For further information see the ICJ Press Release No. 2022/49.

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Webinar: Maritime Boundaries Delimitation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

The Consortium for the Study of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy (CONSMAR) and the Maritime Policy and Strategy Research Centre of the University of Haifa will host the first webinar in their Eastern Mediterranean Talks series, entitled, Maritime Boundaries Delimitation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, 20 October 2022, online (Zoom). For more information see here.

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Call for Applicants: 14th South China Sea Conference Young Leaders Program

The Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam is seeking applicants for the Young Leaders Program 2022 under the framework of the 14th South China Sea International Conference, themed, Undisrupted Sea, Undisrupted Peace, Undisrupted Recovery16-18 November 2022. Applications are welcome until 30 October 2022. For more information see here.

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Fisheries Transparency Coalition: Consultation on Global Charter for Transparency

The Global Fisheries Transparency Coalition is currently conducting a public consultation on its draft Global Charter for Transparency, with written comments welcome until 31 October 2022. See here for more information and to participate.

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Call for Papers: Is international law fair?

The European Society of International Law (ESIL) is hosting the 2023 ESIL Annual Conference, themed, Is international law fair?, 30 August-2 September 2023 in Aix-en-Provence, France. All 11 Agora appear suitable for law of the sea related submissions, with explicit examples being Agora 5: Fairness, Natural Resources, Shared Resources, and Common Spaces and Agora 7: Fairness in the Allocation of Maritime Spaces. Abstracts are welcome until 31 January 2023.

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USA–Pacific Islands Summit: Declaration on U.S.–Pacific Partnership

On 28-29 September 2022 the inaugural United States-Pacific Island Country Summit was held, including the governments of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the United States of America. On 29 September 2022 the United States-Pacific Island Country Summit issued the Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership which, among 11 agreed points, includes:

Sixth, we resolve to protect the Blue Pacific and enhance the laws that govern it.

Seventh, we resolve to maintain peace and security across the Blue Pacific Continent.

2022 Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership

Further detail on initiatives to implement the USA’s commitments is found in the U.S. Roadmap for a 21st-Century U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership, published 29 September 2022. On 29 September 2022, the USA also published a national strategy dedicated to the Pacific Islands, entitled, Pacific Partnership Strategy, which is supportive of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and “aligned with the goals” of the Pacific Island Forum’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

Significant commitments and policies of interest across a range of thematic areas of ocean governance are found within the documents cited above. To highlight here, following previous reporting (2), is the practice addressing the preservation of maritime zones:

We acknowledge the threats posed by climate change-related sea-level rise to regional security, peace, prosperity, and development. It is essential that maritime zones and the rights and entitlements that flow from them must be maintained without reduction, notwithstanding any physical changes connected to climate change-related sea-level rise, recognizing that SIDS and other coastal States have planned their development in reliance on their rights to such maritime zones […]

2022 Declaration on U.S.-Pacific Partnership

Sea-Level Rise: The United States is adopting a new policy on sea-level rise and maritime zones. This policy recognizes that new trends are developing in the practices and views of States on the need for stable maritime zones in the face of sea-level rise, is mindful of the Pacific Island Forum’s Declaration Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea-Level Rise, commits to working with Pacific Island States and other countries toward the goal of lawfully establishing and maintaining baselines and maritime zone limits, and encourages other countries to do the same

Roadmap for a 21st-Century U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership

Secondly:

Recognition of Cook Islands and Niue: The United States will recognize the Cook Islands and Niue as sovereign states, following appropriate consultations.

Roadmap for a 21st-Century U.S.-Pacific Island Partnership

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Lecture: Climate Change & the Oceans

The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (UC Berkeley School of Law) shall host the Fall 2022 Harry & Jane Scheiber Lecture in Ocean Law & Policy, entitled, Climate Change and the Oceans: An Existential Challenge for International Law, 17 October 2022, in a hybrid format (UC Berkeley Law School/Zoom). For more information and registration see here and here.

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UN: FSO Safer Emergency Operation Funded

An ongoing UN-Coordinated Plan aims to prevent and prepare for a possible oil spill from the deteriorating floating storage and offloading unit, FSO Safer, moored off the coast of Yemen, with an estimated 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil on board (IMO Circular Letter No. 4561). The UN-Coordinated Operation Plan is undertaken in close consultation with Yemeni parties, including the support of the Government of Yemen in Aden and a Memorandum of Understanding (5 March 2022) with the Sana’a-based authorities, which control the area where the vessel is located. Following additional funding pledges by the Netherlands on 17 September 2022, the $75 million required to start the first phase of the emergency operation was reached (via public participation, UN crowdfunding campaign and donor states). On 21 September 2022 the Netherlands, the United States and Germany, as the largest donors, co-hosted a high-level side event (2) at the United Nations General Assembly Week addressing necessary follow-up steps and how the operation will actually be carried out. The emergency salvage operation will involve transferring the oil into a safe vessel. The second phase, which will require an additional $38 million, envisages installing a permanent storage solution and scrapping the FSO Safer.

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ISA: LTC Recommendations allow polymetallic nodule collector testing in Clarion-Clipperton Zone

On 22 July 2011 Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Metals Company, was granted a polymetallic nodule exploration contract concerning 4 areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ), sponsored by the government of the Republic of Nauru.

ISA, Nauru Ocean Resources Inc

An environmental impact statement from NORI regarding its plans to carry out testing of a polymetallic nodule collector system components, in the NORI-D Contract Area of the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone was submitted on 30 July 2021, with updates and resubmission on 1 March 2022. A Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (EMMP) was submitted on 2 May 2022. The Legal and Technical Commission (LTC) made requests concerning the detail of the EIA in March 2022 and both the EIA and EMMP in July 2022 (ISBA/27/C/16/Add.1, paras. 42-47):

The Commission therefore decided that it was unable to recommend to the Secretary-General of the Authority that the environmental impact statement be included in the programme of activities of NORI.

ISBA/27/C/16/Add.1, para. 46.

In August 2022 the LTC concluded its review of the additional information provided by NORI on 1 August 2022 and recommended to the Secretary-General of ISA that the completed EIS be incorporated into the programme of NORI’s activities under its exploration contract with ISA. On 5 September 2022, the Secretary-General notified the contractor of the recommendation of the LTC (ISA Press Release) and the pilot collection system trials in the NORI-D Exploration Area (see below) are scheduled to begin in September 2022.

ISA Contract for Exploration Public Information Template: NORI, p. 4.

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Conference: Women in the Law of the Sea

The International Seabed Authority, in partnership with the Permanent Representation of Singapore to the United Nations, will host a conference (CfP previously reported), entitled, Women in the Law of the Sea: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Adoption of UNCLOS, 26-28 September 2022, in a hybrid format (New York/Virtual). For more information see here and here.

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Call for Papers: A New World Disorder

Two consecutive conferences, namely the NKR/JTMS Joint Conference & KISA 14th Annual Convention, themed, A New World Disorder: Security Risks, Challenges, and Opportunities, will be hosted at the Yonsei Institute of North Korean Studies, South Korea, 24-26 November 2022. Abstract, including on a number of non-exhaustive law of the sea topics are welcome until 1 October 2022. for more information see here.

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Republic of Congo: Establishment of Three Marine Protected Areas

Between 29-31 August 2022, the Government of the Republic of Congo, with the support of organisations including the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), officially “announced the creation of the country’s first three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protecting marine resources and coastal habitats across more than 4,000 square kilometers (1,544 square miles) and representing 12.01 percent of Congo’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)” (WCS Press Release). The Ministre de l’Économie Forestière en République du Congo (2) is responsible for protected areas, with a Commission Nationale de Classement approving the Loango Bay Marine Protected Area on 29 August 2022, the expansion of the maritime component of the Conkouati-Douli National Park on 30 August 2022 and the establishment of Mvassa Marine Protected Area on 31 August 2022.

WCS Press Release

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Conference: Operational Maritime Law

The NATO Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters, in co-sponsorship with the Stockton Center for International Law at the United States Naval War College, and in cooperation with the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania will host a conference, entitled, Operational Maritime Law, 10-13 October 2022, in Vilnius, Lithuania. For more information see here.

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Solomon Islands: Temporary Suspension of Approvals Concerning Foreign Naval Visits or Patrols

On 30 August 2022, following the unsuccessful/aborted port calls of the USCGC Oliver Henry and HMAS Spey to the Solomon Islands during their participation in the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency-led, Operation Island Chief, the Solomon Islands have indicated:

“[T]he need for the government to review and refine its approval requirements and procedures for visiting military vessels to Solomon Islands […] to this end we have requested our partners to give us time to review and put in place our new processes before sending further requests for military vessels to enter the country […]

The government has asked all partner countries with plans to conduct naval visits or patrols to put them on hold until a revised national mechanism is in place. These will universally apply to all visiting naval vessels”

GCU Press (30 August 2022)

The port call of USNS Mercy on 30 August 2022 was unaffected due to prior diplomatic clearance. Note, the GCU Press Release refers to a need for diplomatic clearance to enter the Solomon Islands “waters” and “the Government have communicated its position to all countries requesting to send in naval ships into Solomon Islands waters”.

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Vacancies: legislative drafting services for British Virgin Islands

The Government of the Virgin Islands is inviting candidates to submit Expressions of Interest to create a specialist panel to provide legislative drafting services for the comprehensive review of the maritime laws of the British Virgin Islands. The primary objective of this undertaking is to create a Legislative Drafting Maritime Panel consisting of individuals who can efficiently and effectively provide the required legal drafting services to the Government to draft the primary and subsidiary legislation required to give effect to the review of the British Virgin Islands’ maritime laws, to undertake peer review of drafts produced by other drafters as part of the Project and to liaise with them on their projects where appropriate. Expressions of Interest must be submitted no later than 26 September 2022. For further information consult the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry press release.

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Vacancy: Researcher at University of Eastern Finland

The University of Eastern Finland Law School is currently advertising a Postdoctoral Researcher/Project Researcher/Doctoral Researcher position addressing EU Marine Environmental Law and Policy, within its Centre for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law. Applications are welcome until 22 September 2022. For more information see here.

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Call for Papers: Maritime Security Interventions in the Gulf of Guinea

The Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI) welcomes papers for the maiden edition of the GoGMI Journal of Maritime Research, The Gulf Spectrum, addressing the theme: Maritime Security Interventions in the Gulf of Guinea. Abstracts are welcome until 19 September 2022. For more information see here.

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Vacancy: PhD Researcher at Wageningen University

The Environmental Policy group at Wageningen University is looking for a PhD researcher, entitled, Marine Actors and Governance Process, to work in the NWO funded OR ELSE (Operational Recommendations for Ecosystem-based Large-scale Sand Extraction) programme. OR ELSE focuses on the challenge of climate-induced increase of sand extraction volumes for coastal defence and the effects on ecology and other uses (e.g. fisheries) in the Dutch North Sea. Applications are welcome until 22 September 2022. For more information see here.

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Book Launch: Coastal state jurisdiction over living resources in the EEZ

The ANU Centre for International and Public Law, the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation and the Attorney General’s Department will host a book launch for C. Goodman, Coastal state jurisdiction over living resources in the exclusive economic zone (Oxford University Press, 2021), 22 September 2022, at the ANU College of Law. For more information see here.

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Seminar: Elon Musk and the Law of the Sea

The Faculty of Law (University of Oslo) will host the next seminar in their seminar series (Delimitation agreements, Sovereignty, and Jurisdiction Claims: Current Trends, Recent Cases and Future Perspectives), entitled, Elon Musk and the Law of the Sea, 5 September 2022, in a hybrid format (UIO/Zoom). For more information see here.

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ECOWAS: Supplementary Act on piracy suspects adopted

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted the Supplementary Act on the Conditions of Transfer of Persons Suspected of Having Committed Acts of Piracy and Their Associated Property and / or Evidence. This adoption was decided at the 61st Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government on 3 July 2022, in Accra, Ghana. According to the ECOWAS communiqué, the purpose of this initiative is to further strengthen the gains made in securing the region’s maritime domain from acts of piracy. The Act serves to facilitate the transfer of piracy suspects and the associated property and/or evidence to member states with the appropriate legal framework to ensure ‘legal finish’ with the prosecution of piracy, while ensuring compliance with applicable international human rights law, including the treatment of suspected or transferred persons, as well the inclusion of provision on death penalty to safeguard that no transferred person or persons are subjected to death sentence for acts of piracy. More information is available in a press release from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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COSIS: Support Vanuatu Initiative to Seek an ICJ Advisory Opinion on Climate Change

On 26 August 2022 the Commission of Small Island Developing States on Climate Change and International Law (current composition: Antigua and Barbuda, Tuvalu and Palau; previously reported) met virtually, including conferral with 14 appointed international experts and advisors (ACOSIS, Art. 2(3)) and approval of their recommendations in a “plan of action that is being developed”. COSIS may consider and request an advisory opinion from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ACOSIS, Art. 2(2)), but during the meeting COSIS decided to also express full support (ACOSIS, Arts 1(3), 2(1)) for the separate Vanuatu initiative to Seek an ICJ advisory opinion on climate change through a UN General Assembly request (previously reported). Finally, three COSIS working groups were established (ACOSIS, Art. 3(4)) to “advance the objectives of the Commission”. The focus of each working group is not defined, although 3 thematic topics are evident when reading ACOSIS Arts 1(3) and 2(1). For more information see the COSIS Press Release (2).

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