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 (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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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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IMO: Special Event on Ports + World Port Security Summit

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).

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EU: Commission approves Portuguese tonnage tax and seafarer scheme

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).

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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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ILO: Code of Practice on safety and health in shipbuilding and ship repair reviewed

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.

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UNGA: BBNJ resolution (update)

On the 24 December 2017 the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the previously postponed Resolution 74/249, International legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. This initiates formal negotiations of a new legally binding instrument, convening four intergovernmental conference sessions from 2018 to 2020.

For more information see the final text, released 19 January 2018, available here.

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UNGA: Law of the sea resolutions adopted, BBNJ resolution postponed

The 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly adopted A/RES/72/73, Oceans and the law of the sea, and A/RES/72/72, Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments, on the 5 December 2017. Examples of interest, include the proclamation of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (A/RES/72/73 para. 292-295) and the notable vote against A/RES/72/72 by the USA, a resolution usually adopted by consensus without a vote.

Action on the draft BBNJ resolution, International legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, Doc. A/72/L.7, was postponed, pending a review of its programme budget implications.

For more information see the UN press release here and UNGA 72nd Session resolutions here. The Draft BBNJ resolution (A/72/L.7) may be found here, and the programme budget implications (A/C.5/72/18) here.

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EU: Council approves agreement on working conditions for seafarers

On 7 December the European Council of the EU approved a directive which gives legal effect to an agreement between EU social partners in the maritime sector. As a result of the agreement with social partners, amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention made in 2014 can be incorporated into EU law. The objective of the agreement is to protect seafarers’ rights in case of abandonment; the agreement also provides compensation for contractual claims for death or long-term disability of seafarers due to occupational injury, illness or hazard. Thanks to the incorporation of the agreement into EU law, seafarers will be covered by a mandatory financial security system. More information about this agreement may be found here.

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UNEP: draft resolution on marine litter and microplastics passed

The United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, has passed a draft resolution on marine litter and microplastics. This is in line with Sustainable Development Goal target 14.1, which seeks, by 2025, to “prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution”. The document, dated 5 December 2017, may be found here. More information about the meeting, which included thirteen draft resolutions and three decisions, may be found here.

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Arctic: commercial fishing moratorium agreement signed

The member states of the informal group “Arctic-five” (Canada, USA, Russia, Norway, and Greenland/Denmark), together with representatives of other states (Iceland, Japan, South Korea, China and the European Union)  have reached agreement on a legally binding international agreement that will protect nearly three million square kilometers of the Central Arctic Ocean from unregulated fishing. The initial term of the agreement is 16 years, after which it will automatically be extended every five years unless a country objects or until science-based fisheries quotas and rules are put in place. The NGO Ocean Conservancy has referred to this as an example of the precautionary approach. This accord comes two years after a previously set moratorium. Evidence of this new agreement may be found here: (Canada) (Norway) (EU).

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UNESCO: Global Ocean Science Report

The UNESCO has published the Global Ocean Science Report. This document assesses for the first time the status and trends in ocean science capacity around the world. The report offers a global record of who, how, and where ocean science is conducted. According to the organization, this is the first collective attempt to systematically highlight opportunities as well as capacity gaps to advance international collaboration in ocean science and technology. The report may be found in all of the UN official languages here.

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ASEAN: consultations on South China Sea code of conduct to start

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will start consultations on the text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. This is one of the outcomes of the 31st ASEAN meeting, which also culminated in a joint Declaration for a Decade of Coastal and Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea (2017-2027). Chinese official reports on that matter may be found here and here. The issue of freedom of navigation and overflight has been mentioned here.

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EU: Commission approves Belgian tax measures for maritime transport

The European Commission has approved the prolongation of various Belgian support measures for maritime transport. The scheme encourages shipping companies to register their ships in Europe and so ensure higher social, environmental and safety standards. Belgium has committed to a number of changes to its scheme to prevent any discrimination between shipping companies and registries of different European Economic Area (EEA) States and to avoid undue competition distortions. The Belgian authorities have also committed to extend the benefit of tonnage tax to all eligible ships that fly an EEA flag. More information is available here.

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WTO: Compliance report US — Tuna II (Mexico)

On the 26 October 2017, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has issued the compliance panel report on the revised US “dolphin-safe” tuna labeling measure, arising from DS381: United States — Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products. The 2016 Tuna Measures (USA) was found consistent with the requirements set forth in Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement and justified under Article XX of the GATT 1994.

For more information see the WTO news item here, and case summary page here.

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EU: Commission warns Vietnam over insufficient action to fight illegal fishing

The European Commission is has warned Vietnam about the risk of it being identified as a non-cooperating country. The decision highlights that Vietnam is not doing enough to fight illegal fishing. It identifies shortcomings, such as the lack of an effective sanctioning system to deter IUU fishing activities and a lack of action to address illegal fishing activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels in waters of neighbouring countries, including Pacific Small Island Developing States. Furthermore, the EC argues that Vietnam has a poor system to control landings of fish that is processed locally before being exported to international markets, including the EU. More information is available here.

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Greece: REMPEC’s Mediterranean Assistance Unit provides experts

Following the sinking of the oil tanker “AGIA ZONI II” off Piraeus, on 10 September 2017, Greece has requested for assistance to the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC). As a result two experts have been mobilised for a mission in Athens, Greece in the framework of the Mediterranean Assistance Unit (MAU). They will provide technical support on sunken oil assessment and removal techniques and efficient oil removal from sandy beaches. More information is available here.

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EU: Our Ocean Conference commitments

States and non-governmental organizations participating at the 2017 edition of the Our Ocean Conference – An Ocean for Life (previously reported here) have contributed to a vast list of commitments. Those commitments focus on distinct topics: marine pollution, marine protected areas, maritime security, sustainable blue economy, sustainable fisheries, climate change; they are all listed here. Further information on the event may be found here. The map below highlights the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Our Ocean Conference commitments:

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UNSC: authorization to intercept vessels off Libyan coast extended

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has extended until 5 October 2018 its authorization for Member States to intercept vessels suspected of being used for smuggling migrants through Libya. By unanimously adopting resolution 2380 (2017), the UNSC extended the authorization for a third one-year period, the first having been established by resolution 2240 (previously reported here). The UNSC stressed that its authorization of those measures would require good-faith efforts to obtain the consent of the vessel’s flag State prior to any action, and would not supersede sovereign immunity under international law. More information is available here.

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World Bank: $20 Million for Seychelles’ Sustainable Fisheries and Marine Resources Conservation

The World Bank approved a package of over $20 million for the Republic of the Seychelles to improve the conservation of its marine resources and expand seafood value chains. The package consists of a loan of $5 million from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and a grant of $5.29 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). In addition, a guarantee of EUR5 million from the IBRD and a credit of $5 million from the GEF’s Non-Grant Instrument Pilot will enable the future issuance of the world’s first Blue Bond by Seychelles. The Blue Bond is expected to mobilize public and private investments to finance the country’s transition to sustainable fisheries. More information on this package is available here.

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IMO: World Maritime Day 2017

Today is World Maritime Day! The theme selected for this year is “Connecting Ships, Ports and People”. The aim is to build on the World Maritime Day theme for 2016, “Shipping: indispensable to the world”. More information on the events taking place at the IMO in London is available here. Information about the parallel event, to be held in Panama on 1-3 October 2017, is available here.

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ISA: 23rd Session and draft regulations on exploitation

The International Seabed Authority annual session was held, 31 July-4 August 2017 for the Legal & Technical Commission and 7-18 August 2017 for the 23rd Session, at ISA headquarters (Kingston, Jamaica).

Draft Regulations on Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Area (8 August 2017) discussed are available here. For documentation from the 23rd Session see here, and the IISD summary report here.

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UN: agreement on a new treaty on BBNJ

States have agreed to recommend to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elements to be considered in the development of a new treaty on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). A Preparatory Committee was tasked with advising the UNGA on the elements of a draft text of an international legally binding instrument under the UNCLOS. It recommended that the UNGA take a decision, as soon as possible, on the convening of an intergovernmental conference to consider the recommendations on the elements and elaborate the text of a treaty. The UNGA is to decide at its next session on the convening and starting date of an intergovernmental conference to elaborate on a treaty. More information is available here.

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IMO: MEPC agrees on implementation schedule for BMW Convention

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed, during its 71st session, to an implementation schedule for ships to comply with the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, set to enter into force on 8 September 2017. More information about this agreement may be found here.

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Convention on Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries: 2007 Amendments enter into force

Significant amendments adopted in 2007 to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention (NAFO), Convention on Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, entered into force on the 18 May 2017. In practice, many of the obligations have already been provisionally applied.

For more information, see the press release and Convention (ed. 18 May 2017).

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UN: Consultations Upon Ocean Conference Call for Action

The Second Intergovernmental Consultations on UN Ocean Conference Call for Action was held 24-27 April 2017, at UN Headquarters (New York, USA). The first round was held 20-22 March 2017 and the third round is anticipated to be the final.

A report of the outstanding issues identified during consultation is available on the SDG Knowledge Hub website. For more information on the event and the Draft Call for Action discussed, see the letter of the co-facilitators.

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EC: Portugal referred to the CJEU regarding flag state obligations

The European Commission (EC) decided to refer Portugal to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) for failing to respect its obligations as a flag state. The EC issued two separate referrals to the CJEU concerning flag state requirements on one hand (Article 8(1) of Directive 2009/21/EC), and monitoring and reporting activities of its recognised organisations on the other hand (Directive 2009/15/EC). The EC had already requested Portugal to comply with these Directives in September 2016 (flag state requirements) and July 2016 (monitoring and reporting). More information is available in this press release.

 

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FAO: Information System of the Global Record of Vessels launched

The first working version of the Information System of the Global Record for Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels (Global Record) was launched 21 April 2017. This follows a number of progressive calls for its development and noted benefits for e.g. the Port State Measures Agreement.

For more information and access, see the press release and dedicated website.

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Workshop: Marine Mineral Resources of Africa’s Continental Shelf and Adjacent International Seabed Area

A workshop on Marine Mineral Resources of Africa’s Continental Shelf and Adjacent International Seabed Area – Prospects for Sustainable Development of Africa’s Maritime Domain, in support of Africa’s Blue Economy, will be held in Kampala, Uganda from 2 to 4 May 2017. The workshop is jointly organized by the Republic of Uganda and the International Seabed Authority. It will discuss and propose mechanisms for improving regional cooperation and participation of African countries in the deep seabed regime. In particular, it will address special interests of landlocked African countries. More information available here.

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UN: Oceans Action Hub discussion “About Implementing International Law as reflected in UNCLOS”

As previously reported, the United Nations (UN) is hosting the Oceans Conference in June this year, to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. In preparation for that meeting, the UN Oceans Action Hub is hosting a set of open online discussions. The current one is about the implementation of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This online debate is open to contributions between 3 – 21 April 2017 and can be joined here.

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ILO: Adoption of recommendations for Thailand’s fishing industry

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Governing Body adopted a decision at its 329th Session based upon a Committee report in respect of non-observance by Thailand of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29). The focus of the report is in respect of fisheries carried out under Thailand’s flag state jurisdiction and responsibility.

For further information see the Report of the Committee, and the Governing Body Decision.

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Workshop: Towards an ISA Environmental Management Strategy for the Area

A workshop on the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Environmental Management Strategy for the Area will be held in Berlin, Germany from 19-24 March 2017. The workshop aims to assist the Authority in developing a long-term Environmental Management Strategy for the Area. It will deal with governance issues such as overarching principles, regional planning and adaptive management. The outcome of the workshop should provide a first structured and interdisciplinary input on the draft Environmental Regulations taking into account the deliberations by the Legal and Technical Committee in February 2017. More information available here.

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UN: the Ocean Conference

To support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14,  The Ocean Conference, will be held 5-9 June 2017, at United Nations Headquarters (New York, USA). A preparatory meeting will be held 14-16 February 2017, at United Nations Headquarters (New York, USA). Both events will include side events, but participation is limited.

For more on the conference see here, and the preparatory conference here.

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EU: new regulation on fleet register

The Fleet Register is a database where all the fishing vessels flying the flag of a European Union (EU) member state have to be registered in accordance with Community legislation. Updates to the EU’s fleet register will soon be available in real time, following the adoption of a new regulation by the European Commission. The regulation makes it easier for EU member states to update the fleet register, while giving the Commission the necessary tools to crosscheck the data that member states submit. The new regulation enters into force on 1 February 2018, and applies to all commercial fishing vessels, except aquaculture vessels and blue fin tuna traps. More information available here.

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DCOC: adoption of the Jeddah Amendment

A high-level meeting of signatories to the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCOC), held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has adopted a revised Code of Conduct, which will be known as the “Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct 2017”. The revised code of conduct builds on the earlier Code, which was adopted under the auspices of IMO in 2009. The Jeddah Amendment calls on the signatory States to cooperate to the fullest possible extent to repress transnational organized crime in the maritime domain, maritime terrorism, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and other illegal activities at sea. More information on this meeting can be found here.

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UNGA: World Tuna Day proclaimed

The UN General Assembly proclaimed the 2 May as the “World Tuna Day”, spotlighting the vital socioeconomic importance of the widely consumed fish to peoples around the globe. The Assembly then adopted another resolution by consensus, titled “Sustainable fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and related instruments” (document A/71/L.24). More information in the UN’s press release.

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IOC: 2nd International Conference on Marine Spatial Planning

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will hold its second international conference on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) at UNESCO headquarters in Paris (France) from 15-17 March 2017. The conference is being jointly organised with the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG-MARE) of the European Commission. More information is available here.

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EU: Joint Communication on Oceans Governance

On the 10th November 2016, the EU Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy adopted a Joint Communication, entitled, International ocean governance: an agenda for the future of our oceans.

For further information see here, and the Joint Communication here.

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CCAMLR: agreement on Antarctica’s Ross Sea Marine Protected Area

All member states of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) have agreed to a joint USA/New Zealand proposal to establish a 1.55 million km2 area of the Ross Sea with special protection from human activities. This new MPA, to come into force in December 2017, will limit, or entirely prohibit, certain activities in order to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring and fisheries management objectives. More information is available here.

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