Category Archives: International Organizations

IMO: ban on non-compliant fuel oil carriage adopted

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted an amendment to support consistent implementation of the forthcoming 0.50% limit on sulphur in ships fuel oil. The complementary MARPOL amendment will prohibit the carriage of non-compliant fuel oil for combustion purposes for propulsion or operation on board a ship – unless the ship has an exhaust gas cleaning system (“scrubber”) fitted. Installing a scrubber is accepted by flag States as an alternative means to meet the sulphur limit requirement. The complementary amendment is expected to enter into force on 1 March 2020. The  press release of the IMO 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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ITLOS: Public hearing M/V “Norstar” Case

The public hearings in the M/V “Norstar” Case (Panama v. Italy) are scheduled to occur 10-15 September 2018, at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Hamburg, Germany). Members of the general public are requested to register in advance with the Press Office ( A live broadcast will also be available (10 a.m. (CET), 10 September 2018).

For more information and the schedule see the ITLOS press release.

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CJEU: judgment on the “Bosphorus Queen Shipping” case delivered

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has published (11 July 2018) its judgment on Case C-15/17 concerning an oil discharge in the EEZ of Finland by the bulk carrier Bosphorus Queen that took place in 2011. In its decision, the CJEU interpreted the meaning of the expressions “clear objective evidence” and “coastline or related interests” as used in Article 220(6) of the UNCLOS and Article 7(2) of the EC Directive 2005/35 (as amended by EC Directive 2009/123). The CJEU also held that the assessment of a violation, as defined by said articles, takes into consideration:

– the cumulative nature of the damage on several or all of those resources and related interests and the difference in sensitivity of the coastal State with regard to damage to its various resources and related interests;

– the foreseeable harmful consequences of discharge on those resources and related interests, not only on the basis of the available scientific data, but also with regard to the nature of the harmful substance(s) contained in the discharge concerned and the volume, direction, speed and the period of time over which the oil spill spreads

The judgment, as well as the opinion of the Advocate General (delivered on 28 February 2018), may be found here.

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FAO: Public Release of Global Record Information System

Following its launch in April 2017, The Information System of the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels, was released to the general public on 9 July 2018. Data is provided by the official state authorities (reportedly 48 to-date) who remain responsible.

For more information see the Information System and press releases (2), (3).

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FAO: The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018

The FAO published its The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018, 9 July 2018. SOFIA reports provide a “comprehensive, objective and global view of capture fisheries and aquaculture, including associated policy issues” (FAO). Notably, in 2015 fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels decreased to 66.9%, whilst stocks fished at biologically unsustainable levels increased to 33.1%. Among the FAO’s statistical areas, the Mediterranean and Black Sea had the highest percentage of unsustainable stocks, at 62.2%.

For further information, see the full report, or SOFIA 2018: in brief. Other languages are available here.

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Arctic Council: Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation enters into force

The Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation has entered into force on 23 May 2018. This legally binding agreement was signed last year by the eight members of the Arctic Council. The purpose of this agreement is “to increase effectiveness and efficiency in the development of scientific knowledge about the Arctic”, namely by facilitating access to “civilian research infrastructure and facilities and logistical services”, to the “Identified Geographic Areas” and to “scientific information”. The document calls for each party to designate a “competent national authority” as a point of contact to facilitate communication between and among parties. The text of the agreement may be found here. More information about the signature may be found here (USA), here (Canada) and here (Russian Federation).

Date: 02/27/2018 Description: Map of area covered by the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation - State Dept Image

The “Identified Geographic Areas” of the Agreement. Source: USA Department of State.

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