Category Archives: International Organizations

Paris MoU: letter of warning on new maximum limits for sulphur in ships issued

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU) agreed to issue a “Letter of Warning”, starting 1 January 2019, to ensure compliance with the new maximum limits for sulphur in ships fuel oil set by the IMO and which will enter into force a year after that date. The approval of this “information campaign” occurred at the organization’s 51st Committee meeting (7-11 May 2018) where the organization also approved the questionnaire for the Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on MARPOL Annex VI to be carried out jointly with the Tokyo MoU. More information on the outcome of this meeting may be found here.

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EU: proposal on recovery plan for Mediterranean swordfish approved by the EC

The European Commission (EC) has approved a proposal to transpose into EU legislation stronger measures to help the recovery of the Mediterranean swordfish (24 April 2018). The new regulation incorporates the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendation 16-05 into EU law. This ICCAT Recommendation establishes a recovery plan that takes into account the specificities of different types of gear and fishing techniques. When implementing the recovery plan, the Union and Member States should undertake to promote coastal fishing activities and the use of selective fishing gear and techniques that reduce the environmental impact, including gear and techniques used in traditional and artisanal fisheries, thereby ensuring a fair standard of living for local fishing communities. That EC proposal may be found here.

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UNECE: “Inland Navigation in a Global Setting” declaration adopted

Ministers of member states of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe have adopted a declaration entitled Inland Navigation in a Global Setting. This adoption took place at the International Ministerial Conference on Inland Water, on 18 April 2018. The declaration sets forth a number of strategic actions to improve the competitive position of inland waterways across the globe with the aim of creating a sustainable future for inland navigation. The declaration stresses, among other things, the need for an appropriate regulatory frameworks, and the role that the United Nations Conventions for the sector can play in developing them. The declaration may be found here and more information on the subject may be found here.

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IMO: Initial strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships adopted

​The Initial IMO strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships was adopted, 13 April 2018, by the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), during its 72nd session at IMO Headquarters (London, United Kingdom). Previously, MEPC 70 approved a roadmap for developing a Comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, scheduled for 2023. The initial strategy includes reduction of carbon intensity (at least 40% by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050), and GHG emissions (at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008) for international shipping.

See the IMO press briefing. For further information, see the French and EU Commission press releases, and summary of previous IMO work to address GHG emissions.

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EU: UK withdrawal Draft Agreement published

The European Commission (Task Force for the Preparation and Conduct of the Negotiations with the United Kingdom under Article 50 TEU) has published on 19 March 2018 The Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. The document highlights the progress made in the negotiation round with the UK of 16-19 March 2018, with reference to a previous draft of 28 February 2018 (available here). As stated by the UK’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, there has been an agreement on “specific safeguards when it comes to annual fishing negotiations”, adding that through 2020 the UK “will be negotiating fishing opportunities as an independent coastal state, deciding who can access our waters and on what terms”. The Draft Agreement may be found here.

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EU: Application of the Gas Directive to the EEZ would be contrary to UNCLOS

The Legal Service of the Council of the European Union issued its opinion, 1 March 2018, Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC – compatibility with UNCLOS, ST 6738 2018 INIT. The opinion states that:

“The Union does not have jurisdiction to apply energy law on unbundling, transparency, third-party access and regulated tariffs, which is unrelated to the economic exploitation of the EEZ, to pipelines crossing the EEZ of Member States. The application of the Gas Directive to the EEZ would be contrary to Articles 56 and 58 of UNCLOS as interpreted by the Court of Justice” (para. 21).

For more information, see the opinion here. Reference to the opinion was made during an EC press briefing, available here.

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Philippines: Objection and nonrecognition of Chinese names for Benham Rise features

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.

For more information see the press releases, here, here, here, here, and SCUFN here. At the time of writing, a video of the hearing was available:

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