ICJ: Judgment in the case concerning Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v. Chile) delivered

The International Court of Justice delivered its Judgment in the case concerning Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v. Chile). In its Judgment, the Court finds that Chile did not undertake a legal obligation to negotiate a sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean for Bolivia. The Court noted that “the statement by Bolivia, when signing UNCLOS, that referred to “negotiations on the restoration to Bolivia of its own sovereign outlet to the Pacific Ocean” did not imply the allegation of the existence of any obligation for Chile in that regard” and that “acquiescence cannot be considered a legal basis of an obligation to negotiate Bolivia’s sovereign access to the sea”. The full text of the Judgment is available here.

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Sustainable Ocean Summit 2018

The World Ocean Council is presenting another edition of the Sustainable Ocean Summit, themed “Ocean Sustainable Development – Connecting Asia and the World”. This year’s event will take place in Hong Kong, China, on November 14-16, 2018. Aside from plenary sessions, the summit will also feature workshops; one of them is entitled “UN Law of the Sea: New Legally Binding Instrument on Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) and Ocean Industries”. The program of the event is available here.

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Conference: UNCLOS & Artificial Islands Beyond National Jurisdiction

The Indonesian Center for the Law of the Sea (ICLOS) at Universitas Padjadjaran is hosting a conference entitled UNCLOS & Artificial Islands Beyond National Jurisdiction. The conference includes sub-themes such as, for example, “ASEAN and the South China Sea”. The event shall take place in Bandung, Indonesia, on November 21-22, 2018. Registration is open until November 5, 2018 and subject to a fee. More information is available here.

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ITLOS: Amendment to the Rules of the Tribunal

Pursuant to the Statute of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Article 16, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has amended the Rules of the Tribunal, on the 25 September 2018, namely Articles 60(2) and 61(3). Both provisions have been amended through the addition of:

“If the Tribunal is not sitting, its powers under this article may be exercised by the President of the Tribunal, but without prejudice to any subsequent decision of the Tribunal.”

The amendments immediately entered into force. The rationale for amendment given by the Tribunal was “in the interest of the efficient and cost-effective administration of justice”.

For further information see the Amendments (25 September 2018) and ITLOS Press Release 275.

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Franco-UK Agreement on Scallop Fishing in the Bay of Seine

Altercations between French and UK scallop fishers in the Bay of Seine (French EEZ) resurfaced on the 27 August 2018 (the “scallop wars”). The incident arose out of a failure to renew a bilateral agreement between French and UK fishermen before the start of the 2018 scallop fishing season. Consensus could not be reached upon whether to include UK vessels under 15 metres long within the industry agreement. Following a series of meetings, industry agreement was reached 17 September 2018 and endorsed by the respective French and UK ministries.

For further information see the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food communiqués and the prior statement of the UK Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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Conference: Maritime Business and Human Rights

Human Rights at Sea shall host its 2nd International Maritime Human Rights Conference, entitled, Maritime Business and Human Rights, 29 October 2018, at Fishmongers’ Hall (London, UK).

For further information see here, and registration here (fees apply).

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PCA: Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait (bifurcation of proceedings)

On 20 August 2018, in respect of the Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait (Ukraine v. the Russian Federation), the Arbitral Tribunal unanimously adopted Procedural Order No. 3 deciding that “the Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation shall be addressed in a preliminary phase of these proceedings”. Procedural Order No. 4, adopted 27 August 2018, established a timetable for the Parties’ further written pleadings on jurisdiction.

For further information see Procedural Order No. 3Procedural Order No. 4 and the Statement of the MFA of Ukraine. The US State Department and the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine have also recently commented on the situation vis-a-vis the Kerch Strait.

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