Category Archives: International Organizations

CLCS: Bouvetøya outer continental shelf limits clarified

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has clarified the extent of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles outside Bouvet Island (Bouvetøya). The CLCS recommendation is in line with Norway’s proposal submitted in 2009 and revised in 2015. This means that the Norwegian continental shelf surrounding the island amounts to about 683,730 km2, of which 195,120 km2 is beyond 200 nautical miles. The CLCS recommendation gives Norway a basis for determining the extent of the shelf outside Bouvet Island with binding effect. The Statement by the CLCS Chair, dated 29 March 2019, may be found here.

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The continental shelf at Bouvetøya. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

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IMO: FAL Convention amendments on electronic information exchange come into effect

A mandatory requirement for national governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports is coming into effect. The requirement, mandatory under IMO’s Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention), is part of a package of amendments under the revised Annex to the FAL Convention, adopted in 2016.  The FAL Convention encourages use of a “single window” for data, to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal, without duplication. The FAL Convention amendments make it mandatory for ships and ports to exchange FAL data electronically from 8 April 2019.  More information is available here and here.

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CBD: new EBSAs in the Baltic agreed to

A final step for nine ecologically unique marine areas in the Baltic Sea to be included in a global registry was taken during the UN Biodiversity Conference held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 17 to 29 November 2018. Altogether, the nine so-called Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) cover 23 percent of the Baltic Sea waters. The new EBSAs were identified in Helsinki earlier in February 2018 during the Baltic EBSA workshop convened by the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. More information is available here.

The nine new EBSAs in the Baltic Sea. Source: HELCOM

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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 (press@itlos.org). 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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