PCA: The Duzgit Integrity Arbitration (Malta v. São Tomé and Príncipe) Award delivered

The Tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the matter of the Duzgit Integrity Arbitration has just issued an Award in respect of the dispute between the Republic of Malta and the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe. The dispute concerns the arrest by São Tomé of a Maltese flagged vessel – the Duzgit Integrity – on 15 March 2013 when it attempted to undertake a ship-to-ship (“STS”) cargo transfer in São Tomé’s archipelagic waters, and the subsequent measures taken by São Tomé in relation to the vessel, its master, cargo, owner and charterer.

The Tribunal found that it had jurisdiction over the dispute and that, while the initial detention of the vessel fell within the lawful exercise by São Tomé of its law enforcement jurisdiction, the other penalties imposed by São Tomé could not be regarded as proportional to the original offence or the interest of ensuring respect for São Tomé’s sovereignty. Accordingly, the Tribunal held that the cumulative effect of the sanctions imposed by São Tomé was incompatible with Article 49 of the UNCLOS and that Malta was entitled to claim reparation in a further phase of the proceedings.

More information about this case can be found in the PCA’s press release; the Award is available here.

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