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 (firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is hosting a couple of events on port security. The 11 June 2018 special event on ports will maintain the focus of IMO’s World Maritime Day theme for 2017 “Connecting Ships, Ports and People” through a programme of presentations (the outline of the sessions is available here). This will be followed by a symposium on port security operations (12-13 June), co-hosted with the International Organization of Airport & Seaport Police (INTERPORTPOLICE). This second event will focus on the exchange of best practices on port security and law enforcement. More information about these events may be found in the IMO Circular Letter No. 3815 and also here (IMO) or here (INTERPORTPOLICE).
The European Commission has approved under EU State aid rules a Portuguese tonnage tax scheme. Under this scheme, maritime transport companies will pay taxes on the basis of the net tonnage (i.e. the size of the shipping fleet) operated in maritime transport activities rather than on the basis of their taxable profits. In addition, for certain more environmentally-friendly ships, companies can achieve an additional reduction of 10% to 20% of the tax base under the tonnage tax scheme. Moreover, a seafarer scheme exempts seafarers employed on vessels that are eligible under the tonnage tax scheme from paying personal income tax. It also allows them to pay reduced rates of contribution for social insurance. Both the tonnage tax and seafarer schemes will remain in force for ten years. More information is available here. The proposal of the scheme (Proposta de Lei 111/XIII) may be found here (in Portuguese).