The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has delivered its judgment in Case C-266/16 (The Queen, on the application of Western Sahara Campaign UK v Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). It has decided that if the territory of Western Sahara were to be included within the scope of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, that would be contrary to certain rules of general international law that are applicable in relations between the EU and Morocco, inter alia the principle of self-determination. It has also held that, taking account of the fact that the territory of Western Sahara does not form part of the territory of Morocco, the waters adjacent to the territory of Western Sahara are not part of the Moroccan fishing zone referred to in that Agreement. The judgement may be found here. The opinion of advocate general Wathelet is available here.
Monthly Archives: February 2018
On the 14 February 2018 the Philippines Presidential Spokesperson issued a statement objecting to the submissions by China of names for undersea features in the “Benham Rise”, submitted to the Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) of the International Hydrographic Organization. The Philippines will not recognize these names. During a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, 26 February 2018, a reason for the objection was the violation of the Philippines’ sovereign rights, resulting from the lack of consent given to undertake the hydrographic surveys at the basis of the submissions.
The Seychelles announced two new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering 210,000 square kilometers (81,000 square miles), 21 February 2018. The MPAs were created as part of the first ever debt-for-conservation deal, designed by The Nature Conservancy. MPAs includes 74,400 sq. km surrounding the Aldabra Group, and 136,000 sq. km between the Amirantes Group and Fortune Bank. $21.6 million of sovereign debt was purchased at a discount, with repayments now made at more favourable terms to the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).
The President of the Lebanese Parliament has rejected the mediation of the United States of America in the issue with Israel concerning maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea. His declaration may be found here (in Arabic). This follows the exclusive licensing of two oil blocks in a disputed area to a private consortium by the Lebanese Minister of Energy. Yet Israel maintains claims to oil deposits in that region as well. The USA Secretary of State has on this matter affirmed that this “is an extremely important issue to Lebanon” and that “it’s important to Israel as well, to come to some agreement so that private companies can go to work offshore and determine what, in fact, might be available in terms of natural resource development”. One of the members of the consortium that has been licensed by Lebanon to explore blocks in the disputed area affirms that they “are fully aware of the Israeli-Lebanese border dispute in the southern part of the block that covers only very limited area (less than 8% of the block’s surface)”. Their press release may be found here.
The UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has published a POSTnote, entitled, UK Fisheries Management, 21 February 2018. The POSTnote focuses on marine capture fisheries, including future challenges.
For more information, see here.
The Law of the Sea Institute of Iceland and the Korea Maritime Institute shall host a conference, entitled, New Knowledge and Changing Circumstances in the Law of the Sea, 28-30 June 2018, at the University of Iceland (Reykjavik, Iceland).
For more information, see here.
Utrecht University will host a summer school, entitled, Introduction to the International Law of the Sea, 27-31 August 2018, in Utrecht (The Netherlands). Applications are open until 18 August 2018.
PCA: Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait (update)
In respect of the Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait (Ukraine v. the Russian Federation), Ukraine has filed its Memorial, 19 February 2018, to the Arbitral Tribunal Constituted under UNCLOS, Annex VII.
In respect of the previously reported conference, A Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Dispute Resolution in the Law of International Watercourses and the Law of the Sea, the video proceedings of the conference are now available online:
Maritime boundary negotiations between Vanuatu and France, which include an unresolved dispute on the sovereignty over the Matthew Island and the Hunter Island, and their respective 190 000 sq km EEZ, are under way. Those islands are claimed by Vanuatu as part of its southernmost Tafea Province since 1929, but France claims them to be part of New Caledonia since 1976 (i.e. prior to Vanuatu’s independence in 1980). According to Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, New Caledonia’s Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste party coalition has now recognized the islands as part of “Vanuatu National Heritage”, opening the door for “dialogue and negotiation between Vanuatu Government and the Government of France on maritime boundaries”. These negotiations are set to happen amidst debate around the referendum on the independence of New Caledonia, scheduled May 2018. The full statement of Vanuatu’s Prime Minister may be found here.
The World Maritime University will host its WMU Global Ocean Conference 2018, entitled, Building Transformative Partnerships for Ocean Sustainability, from 8-9 May 2018, at the World Maritime University (Malmö, Sweden). This will coincide with the inauguration of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute.
Conference: Migrants at sea – practical and legal aspects of the refugee situation in the Mediterranean
The International Foundation for the Law of the Sea (IFLOS) shall host the 12th Maritime Talks, entitled, Migrants at Sea – Practical and Legal Aspects of the Refugee Situation in the Mediterranean, on the 17 March 2018, at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) (Hamburg, Germany).
The Gujarat National Law University in India will hold the 7th GNLU International Maritime Academy, 2018, from March 17 to 24, 2018. The theme of this edition is ‘Indian Ocean Region – Ports Security, Preventing, Reducing and Controlling – IUU Fishing and Marine Environment Pollution’. This academy is designed to explore and assess the trajectory of law and policy affecting maritime commerce, maritime security, and marine environmental protection and resource conservation. The last date of registration is 15th February, 2018. The brochure and registration form are available here.
The 12th session of the IFLOS Summer Academy at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea will be held from 22 July to 17 August 2018. Applicants should hold a Master’s degree (LL.M. or equivalent) and have advanced knowledge of public international law, the law of the sea or maritime law. The deadline for the reception of applications is 30 April 2018 (postal). For more information, see here.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R.) has issued an Advisory Opinion (OC-23/17) in the case “The Environment and Human Rights” on state obligations in relation to the environment, in the context of the protection and guarantee of the rights to life and to personal integrity. This Avisory Opinion was requested by Colombia with respect to the environmental risks caused by the construction, maintenance and expansion of canals for maritime navigation in the Caribbean region. The I/A Court H.R. declared that “the degradation of the environment may cause irreparable damages to human beings, a reason why a sound environment is a fundamental right for the existence of humankind”. The award (in Spanish) may be found here and a summary (also in Spanish) is available here.
Representatives of governments and the social partners gathered at the International Labour Organization in Geneva on 22-26 January 2018 have adopted a revised code of practice on safety and health in shipbuilding and ship repair. The new code reflects the many changes in the industry, including the use of robotic systems, over the last 43 years since an earlier code was adopted. It focuses on the need for a preventive approach based on occupational safety and health management systems, management of change and safe work plans among others. The draft code may be found here. An overview of the document provided by the NGO IndustriALL Global Union may be found here.
The Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore shall host a conference, entitled, Third World Approaches to International Law, 19-21 July 2018, at the National University of Singapore. Submissions, including upon law of the sea, are welcome until 15 March 2018.
For more information see here.
The International Maritime Law Institute, in conjunction with the Stockton Center for International Law, U.S. Naval War College, will hold a workshop entitled “Human Rights and the Law of the Sea”. The event will be held in Malta on 13-14 February 2018. Issues to be discussed include responses to irregular maritime migration, maritime piracy, IUU fishing, and standards for the use of force at sea. More information is available here .
The International Court of Justice delivered its Judgment in the joined cases concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and Land Boundary in the Northern Part of Isla Portillos (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua). The first case was presented on 25 February 2014 and concerned the “establishment of single maritime boundaries between the two States in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, respectively, delimiting all the maritime areas appertaining to each of them, in accordance with the applicable rules and principles of international law”. In the Judgment, the Court determined the course of the single maritime boundaries between Costa Rica and Nicaragua in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (see image below). The text of the Judgment may be found here. Costa Rica’s official statement (in Spanish) summing up the consequences of this decision may be found here.