As previously reported, the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in March 2023 was subject to differing statements on the period of renewal. On 17 May 2023, it was confirmed (2) that the Russian Federation aligned its position with the other parties and will also continue its participation in the Black Sea Initiative for another 60 days. Ukraine welcomed ‘unblocking‘ of the agreement, following Ukraine’s previous objections (17 April 2023) to claimed interference in the inspection plan. On 15 May 2023, the UK likewise objected to delays and the blocking of vessel inspections, called for a sustained and stable deal, and “urge Russia to stop threatening to leave the initiative”. An update (8 May 2023) from the Office of the UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative confirmed “[s]ince 1 May, the JCC inspection rate has dropped significantly”, with no inspections on 7-8 May 2023. As of 8 May 2023, the total exports of grain and foodstuffs under the Initiative is 29,798,277 metric tonnes, while there have been no exports of fertilizers so far. Official reports (2) concerning a quadrilateral meeting between Ukraine, Türkiye, Russia and the UN on 10-11 May 2023 involved discussions of “the recent proposals by the United Nations, namely the resumption of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, the longer extension of the deal, improvements at the Joint Coordination Centre for stable operations and exports, as well as other issues raised by the parties”.
Russia: Extension of Participation in Black Sea Grain Initiative
Conference: Maritime Security In A Changing World
IPDM – Instituto Português de Direito do Mar shall host its Second Annual Conference, entitled, Maritime Security In A Changing World, 28 June 2023, in Cascais (Portugal). For more information and registration see here.
Vacancy: Research Associate at World Maritime University
The World Maritime University-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (WMU-GOI) is currently advertising a Research Associate position, with a particular focus on multifunctional ocean governance and sustainable blue economy under the auspices of the C2B2 programme, to be based at WMU (Malmö, Sweden). Applications are welcome until 31 May 2023. For more information see here.
Webinar: Deep Seabed Mining & International Law
The British Institute of International and Comparative Law will host a webinar, entitled, Deep Seabed Mining & International Law: Is a Precautionary Pause Required?, 31 May 2023, online. For more information see here.
ASEAN: Declaration on the Placement and Protection of Migrant Fishers
As the current chair of ASEAN, Indonesia hosted the 42nd ASEAN Summit, 9–11 May 2023, in Labuan Bajo (Indonesia). Among the outcome documents, on 10 May 2023 the ASEAN Member States adopted the ASEAN Declaration on The Placement and Protection of Migrant Fishers. Among interesting non-binding provisions are:
FURTHER RECOGNISING the shared responsibility of ASEAN Member States to protect and fulfill the rights of migrant fishers in the entire migration cycle and to prevent and combat forced labour, child labour and trafficking in persons in fishing vessels considering the proximity and connecting borders of ASEAN Member States;
4. IMPROVE the entire migration process of migrant fishers through improvement in ethical and fair recruitment and placement; pre-employment, pre-departure and post-arrival orientations; and access to employment contract or proper documentation in the language they understand;
6. ENCOURAGE ASEAN Member States to initiate or conclude bilateral agreements among each other and with countries outside the region to facilitate safe and regular migration of migrant fishers especially in recruitment and placement processes, safe repatriation and reintegration, and access to justice and remedies;
7. EXPLORE cooperation among ASEAN Member States on data collection and sharing on, but not limited to, case management, recruitment and repatriation of migrant fishers in and outside of ASEAN, and sharing of best practices and lessons learned in the migration process of migrant fishers;ASEAN Declaration on The Placement and Protection of Migrant Fishers (2023)
For further information see the other statements adopted at the 42nd ASEAN Summit here.
Nigeria: The M/T ‘Heroic Idun’ Domestic Proceedings
On 3 May 2023 the Nigerian Navy published a press release providing an update on the domestic proceedings concerning the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ incident of August 2022, from the perspective of the Nigerian Navy. Following the domestic proceedings previously reported, according to the Nigerian Navy, on 10 January 2023 the ship and crew were charged at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, whereupon M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ “and her 26 foreign crew pleaded guilty and elected voluntarily to enter into a plea bargain agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as make restitution to the Federal Government”. The owners are said to have made the plea bargain under Section 270(1)(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which “was in the interest of justice, the public and for public policy interest” (thus, presumably accepted by the prosecutor under Section 270(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015). According to the Nigerian Navy press release, the court ordered release of the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ and crew is conditional on the terms of the plea bargain agreement being first fulfilled, as agreed, which include the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ “and its owners are to pay fines to the Federal Government and make an apology to the Federal Republic of Nigeria in print and electronic media as well as Llyod’s list. On its part, the Federal Government agreed not to further criminally prosecute and/or investigate the vessel, her owners, charterers or her crew in the matter of her crime against the State”. For more information see the related international proceedings concerning the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘, previously reported.
Update 15 May 2023: On 12 May 2023 a public apology by the owners of the M/T ‘Heroic Idun‘ to the Federal Government of Nigeria was published in Lloyd’s List. The apology concerns the reporting of the approach of a Nigerian patrol vessel “as what was thought at the time to be a possible piracy attack”. The apology has been acknowledged and re-circulated by the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Government.
Call for Abstracts: Arctic – Climate, Energy & Sustainability
The Climate Arctic Governance research network (CArGo) will host a special Arctic edition of the Interdisciplinary Seminar Series on Climate, Energy and Sustainability, 8 December 2023, in a hybrid format, University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Zoom. Abstracts from students and junior researchers are welcome until 31 October 2023. For more information see here.
IPDM Law of the Sea Summer School 2023
IPDM – Instituto Português de Direito do Mar shall host its inaugural Law of the Sea Summer School, 3-14 July 2023, in Cascais (Portugal). The first week will be lectured in Portuguese and the second week in English. For more information and registration see here and the programme.
Filed under Courses
Tuvalu: MoU Signed with Sea Shepherd on Collaborative Fisheries Patrols and Enforcement
On 10 May 2023 the Government of Tuvalu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sea Shepherd Global concerned with combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Tuvalu’s EEZ (Tuvalu Department of Foreign Affairs). This represents the first collaboration law enforcement arrangement between the NGO and a coastal state in the Pacific region, previous examples involving Sea Shepherd assistance arrangements with Gabon, Liberia, Tanzania, The Gambia, Benin, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Namibia (Sea Shepherd Global Press Release). Under the terms of the MoU, Sea Shepherd will provide a designated vessel, Allankay, at no-cost to the government of Tuvalu to support law enforcement efforts through at-sea patrols. Under the terms of the MoU, Tuvalu will station a detachment from the Tuvalu Police Service aboard the Allankay with the authority to board, inspect, and arrest fishing vessels engaged in IUU activity in the EEZ of Tuvalu.
Filed under Non-State Actors, State Practice
Call for Papers: VII Congresso do Instituto Brasileiro de Direito do Mar
The Brazilian Institute of Law of the Sea (BILOS) shall host its VII Congress of the Brazilian Institute of Law of the Sea, 30-31 October 2023, at the Escola de Guerra Naval, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The submission of papers are welcome until 6 August 2023. For further information see here.
Vacancy: CIL Research Assistant
The Centre for International Law (National University of Singapore) is accepting applications for the position of Research Assistant (Oceans Law and Policy Team), with a closing date of 20 May 2023. For more information see here.
Roundtable: Maritime Security Challenges in Southeast Asia
The Centre for International Law (CIL) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Blue Security Program shall host a roundtable, entitled, Maritime Security Challenges in Southeast Asia: A Roundtable Discussion, 25 May 2023, at NUS (Singapore). For more information see here.
Calls/Events: mediation in maritime disputes
The University of Coimbra (Portugal) is hosting the final symposium of the project MediMARE: Mediation in Maritime Disputes. The organizers welcome interdisciplinary and international approaches such as: legal analysis of maritime mediation and its implications; social and political analysis of the mediation mechanism related to maritime activities; diagnosis on current situation and building innovative solutions at the legal and social policies levels; relevance and/or experience of maritime mediation in particular fields, such as (but not limited to) insurance, labor relations, contractual relations, environmental disputes. The symposium will be conducted in a hybrid format on 30 June and 1 July 2023 at the University of Coimbra (Portugal). Deadline to submit paper proposals is 2 June 2023. The call can be found here.
Events: L’obligation des États de protéger et préserver le milieu marin
The Institut du Droit Economique de la Mer (INDEMER) is organizing an international symposium on the obligation of States to protect and preserve the marine environment. The event is set to happen 12-13 May 2023 in Monaco. More information is available here (in French).
Call for Contributions: Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction
The blog of the Environmental, Climate and Oceans Law (ECO Law) research group of the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, is seeking short contributions for an upcoming blog series on the Treaty on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, to be published in May 2023. Contributions are welcome until 10 May 2023. For more information see here.
UNGA: Further resumed fifth session of IGC to adopt the finalised BBNJ Agreement
On 18 April 2023 the United Nations General Assembly adopted (without a vote) UNGA Decision 77/556 (currently available as UN Doc. A/77/L.62), convening a further resumed fifth session of the intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement). The further resumed fifth session of the IGC will convene with a view to adopting the finalised BBNJ Agreement (advanced unedited version (March 2023)), with tentative dates of 19–20 June 2023. In the meantime, an open-ended informal working group is established to ensure the uniformity of terminology throughout the text of the draft BBNJ Agreement and to harmonise the versions in the six official languages of the UN. See previous reporting here.
Filed under International Organizations, Treaties
ITLOS: The M/T “Heroic Idun” (No. 2) Case
A special chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea was formed to deal with “the dispute concerning the M/T “Heroic Idun” and her crew” between the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Order 2023/2 of 27 April 2023). The Parties agreed to transfer the arbitral proceedings instituted by the Marshall Islands under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to a special chamber of the Tribunal to be constituted pursuant to article 15, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the Tribunal. See ITLOS Press Release 335. See also the press release from the Government of Equatorial Guinea (here). The context of the case leading to this transfer of proceedings can be found in previous De Maribus reports here, and here.
Call for Papers: Ocean Commons
The Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea (NCLOS), UiT The Arctic University of Norway, will host its annual conference, themed, Ocean Commons, 1-3 November 2023, in Tromsø (Norway). Abstracts are welcome until 30 June 2023. For more information see here.
Events: Öresund International Law Workshop
The 5th Öresund International Law Workshop will take place at Lund University Faculty of Law on 13 June 2023. This edition shall address the topic of ‘International Law and Attachment’. The workshop is co-organised by international law researchers at Lund University Faculty of Law, the World Maritime University-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, and the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law. The full programme and registration information are available here.
ITLOS: Judgment in Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Mauritius/Maldives Maritime Boundary
On 28 April 2023 the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) formed to deal with the Dispute concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives) delivered its Judgment of 28 April 2023. This follows the previously reported Judgment of 28 January 2021 in the incidental proceedings concerning the preliminary objections raised by the Maldives. The operative part of the Judgment of 28 April 2023 unanimously concluded:
(1) Decides that the single maritime boundary delimiting the exclusive economic zones and the continental shelves of the Parties within 200 nm extends from west to east between the intersections of the respective 200 nm limits determined in paragraphs 248 and 250 above and is composed of geodetic lines connecting the following points in WGS 84 as geodetic datum: Point 1 with coordinates 2° 17′ 21.4″ S and 70° 11′ 56.2″ E; turning points 2 to 36 with the coordinates identified in paragraph 249 above; Point X (Point 37) with coordinates 3° 07′ 28.9″ S and 73° 19′ 11.0″ E; and Point Y (Point 38) with coordinates 3° 20′ 54.8″ S and 75° 12′ 52.1″ E.Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean, Judgment of 28 April 2023, para. 466.
(2) Finds that its jurisdiction to delimit the continental shelf between the Parties includes the continental shelf beyond 200 nm.
(3) Rejects the objection raised by the Maldives to the admissibility of Mauritius’ claim to the continental shelf beyond 200 nm on the grounds that Mauritius’ submission to the CLCS was not filed in a timely manner.
(4) Finds that, in the circumstances of the present case, it is not in a position to determine the entitlement of Mauritius to the continental shelf beyond 200 nm in the Northern Chagos Archipelago Region and decides that, consequently, it will not proceed to delimit the continental shelf between Mauritius and the Maldives beyond 200 nm.
Declarations to the Judgment of 28 April 2023 were attached by Judge Paik, Judge Heidar and Judge ad hoc Schrijver.
Call for Papers: Africa & the Governance of the Global Commons
The African Society of International Law (AfSIL) will host the 12th Annual Conference of the Society, themed, Africa and the Governance of the Global Commons, 27-28 October 2023, at the African Union Headquarters (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia). Abstracts are welcome until the extended deadline of 15 May 2023. For more information see the call for papers.
EU: Extension of Emission Trading Scheme to Maritime Transport
On 25 April 2023 the Council of the EU adopted a series of laws which will provide for the inclusion of maritime transport within the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The vote in the Council is the last step of the decision-making procedure, a procedure initiated in 2013 when the Commission adopted a strategy for progressively integrating maritime transport emissions into the European Union’s policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a system for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Union and Decision (EU) 2015/1814 concerning the establishment and operation of a market stability reserve for the Union greenhouse gas emission trading system (2023) provides the necessary amendments “to include maritime transport activities in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in order to ensure that those activities contribute their fair share to the increased climate objectives of the Union as well as to the objectives of the Paris Agreement”, while the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2015/757 in order to provide for the inclusion of maritime transport activities in the EU Emissions Trading System and for the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions of additional greenhouse gases and emissions from additional ship types (2023) provides the necessary amendments to the MRV Regulation to take account of said extension of the EU ETS to maritime transport and related updates, namely “to provide for monitoring, reporting and verification rules that are necessary for an extension of the EU ETS to maritime transport activities and to provide for the monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions of additional greenhouse gases and emissions from additional ship types” (Recitals 8 & 12, emphasis added). Once published in Official Journal of the EU the directive and regulation will be legally binding.
Of note in respect of its relations to developments of a global market-based mechanism through the International Maritime Organization (IMO):
Efforts to limit global maritime emissions through the IMO are under way and should be encouraged, including the rapid implementation of the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships, adopted in 2018, which also refers to possible market-based measures to incentivise greenhouse gas emission reductions from international shipping. However, while recently there has been progress in the IMO, this has so far not been sufficient to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Given the international character of shipping, it is important that the Member States and the Union within their respective competences work with third countries to step up diplomatic efforts to strengthen global measures and make progress on the development of a global market-based measure at IMO level.Directive 2003/87/EC (as amended April 2023), Recital 19.
Directive 2003/87/EC (as amended April 2023), Article 3gg(1) addresses the EU response “in the event of the adoption by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of a global market-based measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport”, while Article 3gg(2) addresses the EU response “in the event that the IMO does not adopt by 2028 a global market-based measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maritime transport in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and at least to a level comparable to that resulting from the Union measures taken under this Directive”.
ICJ: Obligations of States in Respect of Climate Change (AO) Order
As previously reported, the ICJ would invite states entitled to appear before the ICJ and any international organisations likely to be able to furnish information to submit written statements in respect of Obligations of States in respect of climate change (Request for an Advisory Opinion). By Order of 20 April 2023, the ICJ:
Obligations of States in respect of climate change (Request for an Advisory Opinion), Order of 20 April 2023 (emphasis added)
- Decides that the United Nations and its Member States are considered likely to be able to furnish information on the questions submitted to the Court for an advisory opinion and may do so within the time-limits fixed in this Order;
- Fixes 20 October 2023 as the time-limit within which written statements on the questions may be presented to the Court, in accordance with Article 66, paragraph 2, of the Statute;
- Fixes 22 January 2024 as the time-limit within which States and organizations having presented written statements may submit written comments on the written statements made by other States or organizations, in accordance with Article 66, paragraph 4, of the Statute; and Reserves the subsequent procedure for further decision.
For more information see the case overview at General List No 187. Note, this Order is without prejudice to the possibility of the further addition of participants to the proceedings by authorisation of the ICJ. For example, this has occurred recently in response to a request from the African Union in other ongoing –but completely separate– ICJ Advisory Opinion proceedings (ICJ Press Release No. 2023/19).
Vacancy: Legal Advisor at The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency
The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is advertising for a full-time Legal Advisor, to be based in Honiara (Solomon Islands). Applications close 12 May 2023. For more information see here.
Events: ILA Paris 150 – Ocean
The International Law Association (ILA) is hosting a webinar to discuss the White Paper on the Ocean. This event is taking place on 25 April 2023, within the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the association. The document may be read here; registration is open here.
ICJ: Obligations of States in respect of climate change
Following previous reporting on the United Nations General Assembly’s request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the obligations of States in respect of climate change, the advisory opinion request has been received by the ICJ Registrar on 17 April 2023 and added as General List No 187. Following receipt of the advisory opinion request, the Registrar of the ICJ will have notified all states entitled to appear before the ICJ and any international organisations likely to be able to furnish information of the request and invited said states and international organisations to submit written statements (ICJ Statute, Article 66). Said states and international organisations will also be invited to submit oral statements at public sittings to be determined at a later date. For more information see the ICJ Press Release No. 2023/20.
Events: Deep Seabed Mining and the International Seabed Authority
The Geneva Graduate Institute, the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS Potsdam) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are hosting an event entitled Deep Seabed Mining and the International Seabed Authority. The main objective of the proposed event is to sensitise the topic of deep seabed mining to a broader audience, including discussing the mandate and ongoing work of the ISA, alongside the many associated concerns and tensions among member states and stakeholders. This event will provide an overview of the state-of-the-art at the ISA, including the accelerated regulatory process and implications of the two-year rule at the ISA amidst growing opposition to deep seabed mining, as the deadline of July 2023 approaches. This event will take place in Geneva (Switzerland) on 3 May 2023. Further information is available here.
World Bank Ocean Governance Capacity Building Training Program 2023
The World Bank, in partnership with the University of Melbourne Law School, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations, the International Seabed Authority, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the Center for Maritime and Oceanic Law at the University of Nantes shall host an Ocean Governance Capacity Building Training Program, tailored in 2023 for the Indian Ocean region, with a mandatory e-learning course in August 2023 followed by live sessions scheduled for 11-28 September 2023. Applications are welcome until 16 May 2023. The training program will take place in both English and French and an information webinar will take place on 26 April 2023 (registration: English; French) For more information see here.
Events: Direito do Mar
The Faculty of Law at the University of Lisbon is hosting a conference entitled “Direito do Mar” (Law of the Sea). This event will include presentations on the teaching and history of the law of the sea in Portugal, maritime spaces and conflict resolution. It will also include a panel featuring experiences of practicioners. The event takes place on 27 Abril 2023 in Lisbon (Portugal). More information can be found here (in Portuguese).
Calls/Events: The Future of Law in the Age of Disruptive Technology
The Faculty of Law at the University of Antwerp has launched a call for abstracts for the upcoming Conference on the Platform Economy and Transport Law. This event will take place on 21-22 September 2023 in Antwerp, Belgium. The theme of the conference is “Law in the Age of Disruptive Technology- Navigating the Platform Economy and Transport Law”. The organizers accept contributions that address legal responses to disruptive technology, including autonomous maritime transport. Deadline to submit abstracts is 31 May 2023. More information is available in this call and in this poster.
Call for Abstracts: Reconstructing the Bandung Spirit for Asia to Lead in the New Era of International Law
The Faculty of Law of Universitas Indonesia and Universitas Jenderal Achmad Yani will cohost the 9th Biennial Conference of the Asian Society of International Law, themed, Reconstructing the Bandung Spirit for Asia to Lead in the New Era of International Law, 7-9 August 2023 at Universitas Indonesia (Depok, Indonesia). Topics include the law of the sea: challenges and prospects. Abstracts are welcome until 30 April 2023. For more information see here.
Call for Papers: Indo-Pacific Strategies & International Law
The Research Center for International Legal Studies of National Chengchi University and the Chinese (Taiwan) Society of International Law will host the 2023 ILA-ASIL Asia-Pacific Research Forum, themed, Indo-Pacific Strategies and International Law, 3-4 December 2023, at Howard Civil Service International House (Taipei). The call for papers includes law of the sea. Paper proposals are welcome until 30 June 2023. For more information, see here.
Webinar: Dispute settlement under the BBNJ Agreement
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 Te Kauhanganui Tātai Ture-Law Faculty at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington, will host a webinar, entitled, Dispute settlement under the BBNJ Agreement, 2 May 2023, online (MS Teams). For more information and registration see here.
Calls/Events: Innovating for Change in Global Fisheries Governance
The Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea at the Arctic University of Norway is holding a workshop entitled ‘Innovating for Change in Global Fisheries Governance’. This workshop builds on a previous workshop with the same title, held in Tromsø in September 2016, the proceedings of which were published in a special section of the Marine Policy journal (Volume 84, 2017). The organizers welcome papers on innovations in relation to: environmental challenges (e.g. relationship between fisheries and climate change, pollution, etc.), technical challenges (e.g. vessel/gear technologies, standards, data collection, and monitoring & enforcement), human challenges (e.g. vulnerable human groups, equitable approaches, and small-scale fisheries) and new legal developments (e.g. the BBNJ treaty). Deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 May 2023. More information is available here.
Conference: International Law and Conflict at Sea
The Stockton Center for International Law will host the 5th Annual Alexander C. Cushing International Law Conference, themed, International Law and Conflict at Sea, 23-25 May 2023, at the U.S. Naval War College (Rhode Island, USA). This year, the conference will focus on Law of the Sea & Maritime Security; Marine Environmental Security; Disruptive Technology at Sea; Armed Conflict at Sea; Indo-Pacific Maritime Security; Great Power Competition and International Law; and the Law of Naval Warfare, among other topics. Registration is required. For more information see here.
Calls: Montée du niveau de la mer et infrastructures portuaires / Sea level rise and port infrastructure
Scholars from French and Canadian universities are calling for contributions to an edited volume (in French or in English) on legal challenges for port infrastructures associated with sea level rise. The proposed book would have four sections: definition of “ports and maritime infrastructures” and privatization at sea; environmental risks and responsibilities; industrial, logistic and economc risks; the competence of public entities in the prevention and management of risks in ports. Deadline for submission of proposals is 31 May 2023. More information can be found here (French) or here (English).
IOTC: Resolution on DFADs & IOTC Members Objections
A Special Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (SS6) was held 3-5 February 2023 (Kenya), with the stated objective “the aim of the Special Session is to adopt a conservation and management measure on Fish Aggregating Devices”. This followed inaction on the issue at the 26th Session in May 2022. The 6th Special Session (IOTC Circular 2023-09) adopted Resolution 23-01 On management of Anchored Fish Aggregating Devices (AFADs) and Resolution 23-02 On Management of Drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (DFADs) in the IOTC area of competence, the latter adopted by a two-thirds majority vote.
Pursuant to Article IX of the IOTC Agreement, a number of Members have since formally objected to Resolution 23-02, namely Comoros (IOTC Circular 2023-11), Seychelles (IOTC Circular 2023-19), European Union (IOTC Circular 2023-26), Oman (IOTC Circular 2023-12), Philippines (IOTC Circular 2023-20), Kenya (IOTC Circular 2023-14), and Somalia (IOTC Circular 2023-18; IOTC Circular 2023-22 objection since withdrawn). In response to some of the statements made on Resolution 23-02, Indonesia circulated a statement “countering the misinterpretation of Resolution 23-02”, its statement representing a shared understanding by “a number” of the other Resolution 23-02 co-sponsoring states (IOTC Circular 2023-24).
Ukraine/Türkiye/Russia: Extension of Black Sea Grain Initiative
The previously reported Black Sea Grain Initiative foresees a renewal of 120 days, as previously occurred, in Paragraph 5(H):
H. This initiative will remain in effect for 120 days from the date of signature by all Parties and can be extended automatically for the same period, unless one of the Parties notifies the other of the intent to terminate the initiative, or to modify it.Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian Ports
On 14 March 2023, the deadline of possible expiry, the Black Sea Grain Initiative was renewed by the parties, with the UN Secretariat continuing to reference the previously reported MoU on Russian Food Products and Fertilizers between Russia and UN Secretariat, which expires 22 July 2025 (Paragraph 6). The UN Secretary-General press release is silent on the length of extension, however the Ministry for the Restoration of Ukraine refers to a 120 days extension, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia refers to 60 days extension, with the possibility that after 60 days there will be a further decision on extension or “[Russia’s] participation in the Black Sea Initiative will be suspended”.
Vacancy: Legal Officer at International Seabed Authority
The Office of the Legal Affairs at the Headquarters of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is currently seeking a Legal Officer. Applications are welcome until 31 May 2023.
Webinar: The new BBNJ treaty – A preliminary assessment
The ESIL Interest Group on the Law of the Sea, in collaboration with members of the ESIL Board, will host a webinar, entitled, The new BBNJ treaty: A preliminary assessment, 19 April 2023, online. See here.
UNGA: Request for an ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Obligation of States in Respect of Climate Change
On 29 March 2023 the UNGA adopted, by consensus without a vote, Resolution 77/276: Request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the obligations of States in respect of climate change (currently available as UN Doc. A/77/L.58). The previously reported ICJ Core Group of Nations, led by Vanuatu, were joined by 132 Co-Sponsors in tabling the resolution. The operative paragraph provides that the UNGA:
Decides, in accordance with Article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations, to request the International Court of Justice, pursuant to Article 65 of the Statute of the Court, to render an advisory opinion on the following question:
“Having particular regard to the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the duty of due diligence, the rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principle of prevention of significant harm to the environment and the duty to protect and preserve the marine environment,UNGA Resolution 77/276, pp. 3-4.
(a) What are the obligations of States under international law to ensure the protection of the climate system and other parts of the environment from anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases for States and for present and future generations;
(b) What are the legal consequences under these obligations for States where they, by their acts and omissions, have caused significant harm to the climate system and other parts of the environment, with respect to:
(i) States, including, in particular, small island developing States, which due to their geographical circumstances and level of development, are injured or specially affected by or are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change?
(ii) Peoples and individuals of the present and future generations affected by the adverse effects of climate change?
Vacancy: Assistant Professor at Leiden University
Universiteit Leiden is currently advertising an Assistant Professor position in the field of International Justice and Global Challenges, including a particular focus on Migration and Refugee Law and Law of the Sea. Applications are welcome until 25 April 2023.
Norway: Judgment in SIA North Star Ltd v. Staten v/Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet
On 20 March 2023 the Supreme Court of Norway handed down its SIA North Star Ltd v. Staten v/Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet, Judgment HR-2023-491-P (sak nr. 22-134375SIV-HRET). The case concerned the applicability of Articles 1-3 of the Treaty concerning the Archipelago of Spitsbergen (Svalbard Treaty) towards the continental shelf off Svalbard, principally:
The High Contracting Parties undertake to recognise, subject to the stipulations of the present Treaty, the full and absolute sovereignty of Norway over the Archipelago of Spitsbergen…
Ships and nationals of all the High Contracting Parties shall enjoy equally the rights of fishing and hunting in the territories specified in article 1 and in their territorial waters…
Article 3Treaty concerning the Archipelago of Spitsbergen 2 LNTS 7
The nationals of all the High Contracting Parties shall have equal liberty of access and entry for any reason or object whatever to the waters, fjords and ports of the territories specified in Article 1; subject to the observance of local laws and regulations, they may carry on there without impediment all maritime, industrial, mining and commercial operations on a footing of absolute equality.
They shall be admitted under the same conditions of equality to the exercise and practice of all maritime, industrial, mining or commercial entreprises both on land and in the territorial waters, and no monopoly shall be established on any account or for any entreprise whatever…
The Supreme Court of Norway found that Article 1 affirms Norway’s full and absolute territorial sovereignty over Svalbard, subject only to stipulations and limitations derived from the Svalbard Treaty. Residual rights remain with Norway. Within this context, the term “territorial waters” in Articles 2 and 3 was historically used at the time to refer to the internal waters and territorial sea of a coastal state. The court rejected an argument for an evolutionary interpretation so as to include the continental shelf within territorial waters and thus Articles 2 and 3 for lack of basis. Such a development would have required an agreed amendment. Therefore, the default rules under UNCLOS apply whereby foreign nationals do not have a right of fisheries access or exploitation on the continental shelf (Article 77 of UNCLOS).
For more information see here.
Filed under Jurisprudence, State Practice
USA: Withdrawal of Certain Areas off the United States Arctic Coast of the Outer Continental Shelf from Oil or Gas Leasing
The President of the United States of America announced a decision (13 March 2023) to withdraw from disposition by oil or gas leasing for a time period without specific expiration the areas designated as the Beaufort Planning Area of the Outer Continental Shelf. According to the memorandum published by the White House, the withdrawal prevents consideration of withdrawn areas for any future oil or gas leasing for purposes of exploration, development, or production, but nothing in this withdrawal affects rights under existing leases in the withdrawn areas. The Memorandum for the Secretary of the Interior is available here. This comes after the U.S. Interior Department issued a Record of Decision regarding the proposed Willow Master Development Plan in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (source).
Vacancy: Research Assistant at Queen’s University Belfast
Queen’s University Belfast is currently advertising a research assistant position for the project Changing Conceptions of the Freedom of the Seas: The High Seas as Legal Space. Application are welcome until 31 March 2023. For more information see here.
Calls: Brazilian Journal of International Law (Special Issue)
The Brazilian Journal of International Law invites submissions for a special issue on “Oil spill Prevention and Response: national, international and comparative perspectives” to be published in December 2023. In the backdrop of the 2019 Northeast Brazil Oil Spill, this call aims to look into innovative solutions for addressing environmental, social and economic issues caused by accidental oil spills caused by ships from an international, national and comparative perspective. The call is open to papers examining a variety of civil, administrative, criminal and international legal issues regarding oil spills, such as: 1) Prevention and reparation of vessel-source pollution; 2) Safety management of offshore oil and gas operations; 3) Assessing economic loss caused by oil spill disasters; 4) Ecologic compensation in case of oil spill disasters; 5) Area Based Management Tools (including Marine Protected Areas, other effective area-based conservation measures and Marine spatial planning). The deadline for submission is 31 July 2023. More information is available here.
UNDP: Operational Phase of FSO Safer Emergency Plan
As previously reported, in 2022 the UN Plan for the FSO Safer Tanker Stop the Red Sea Catastrophe had received sufficient funding pledges to start the first phase of the emergency operation. In September 2022 preparatory work for the operation began, however a significant price increase in the market for suitable vessels to undertake the operation since occured, “chiefly due to factors related to the war in Ukraine”. Therefore, on 9 March 2023 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed an agreement with Euronav to secure the purchase of a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC), with an anticipated arrival at the mooring location of the FSO Safer in May 2023 to begin operations. “The purchase of this suitable vessel by UNDP marks the beginning of the operational phase of the UN-coordinated plan” (UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner).
Vacancy: Ocean Team Intern at IUCN
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is currently seeking an Intern (6 months) to join the IUCN Ocean Team (Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland). The Ocean Team intern “will support the work and projects of the IUCN Team with a focus on communications and research for the Global Plastics Treaty work and possibly work related to the [BBNJ Agreement]”. Applications are welcome until 13 March 2023. For more information see here.
Calls: Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law
The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law is currently inviting submissions on a closed list of topics, including a number of law of the sea related topics. Non-exhaustive examples include an entry on fisheries and an entry on maritime boundaries.
While the analysis of these topics cannot dispense with a general overview of the relevant framework set by public international law, the focus should remain on domestic constitutional provisions dealing with fisheries and maritime boundaries and should cover an appropriate selection of relevant jurisdictions. Submissions should be around 5000 words and the ordinary deadline is 6 months from assignment.
Designated authors will receive a free token giving access to a selection of Oxford University Press products for 1 year. For further information, or to receive a full list of available entries, please contact the Managing Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singapore/Indonesia: Domestic Ratification of 2022 Expanded Framework Agreements
On 17 January 2023 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore confirmed that Singapore has completed its domestic legal processes to ratify the bilateral instruments which make up the 2022 Expanded Framework Agreements with Indonesia, namely, the Agreement on the Realignment of the Boundary between the Jakarta Flight Information Region (FIR) and the Singapore FIR, the Treaty for the Extradition of Fugitives and the Defence Cooperation Agreement. This follows Indonesia’s ratification of the FIR Agreement in September 2022 and the Extradition Treaty and DCA in December 2022. Consistent with the 2022 Exchange of Letters, Singapore and Indonesia will exchange formal notifications of completion and “jointly seek approval from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the arrangements under the FIR Agreement, to enable the simultaneous entry into force of all three agreements on a mutually agreed date”.