A High Risk Area (HRA) in the Indian Ocean was designated by bodies representing the shipping industry in 2010 (BMP 5). Since then, various amendments to the extent of the area were made and in 2021 the IMO was informed that further revisions would occur, including development of a more dynamic threat assessment process (IMO Doc. MSC 104/8/2). On 22 August 2022 the IMO was informed by a co-authored submission (ICS, BIMCO, OCIMF, INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO and IMCA) that the Indian Ocean High Risk Area will be withdrawn on 1 January 2023 to reflect the the improved piracy situation in the region (IMO Doc. MSC 106/INF.10). The UKMTO Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) appears to be, as yet, unchanged.
Category Archives: Non-State Actors
On 2 August 2022, China provided notice that it will conduct military exercises and training activities, including live-fire drills, from 4-7 August 2022 in six defined maritime areas and their air space around Taiwan Island. Entry of vessels and aircraft into the above-mentioned sea and air space is prohibited during said period. A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense described the “targeted drills” as ‘countermeasures’ in response to the visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced other sanctions or ‘countermeasures‘ including in a maritime context.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan (R.O.C.) objected to the military exercises and training activities, including the launching of ballistic missiles into waters surrounding Taiwan Island. Japan lodged a diplomatic protest with China as reportedly the first occasion that Japan believes that Chinese ballistic missile have landed in Japan’s EEZ (5 missiles). A Foreign Ministry Spokesperson of China suggested China does not recognise Japan’s EEZ claim until maritime delimitation is completed. The G7 Foreign Ministers issued a Statement on Preserving Peace and Stability Across the Taiwan Strait (3 August 2022) calling for peaceful means, while ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued a Statement on The Cross Strait Development (3 August 2022), calling for maximum restraint, refrain from provocative action and for upholding the principles enshrined in United Nations Charter and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.
The Observatorio para la Gobernanza Marino Costera (Colombia) is hosting a side event at the United Nations Ocean Conference 2022 entitled Marine Justice and Right to Science. The event takes place 30 June 2022, and it shall be held in English with simultaneous translation into Spanish. See program and registration.
Nonprofit engineering environmental organization The Oceans Cleanup has opened an internship position on Global Affairs. The successful candidate is expected to inter alia carry out research on particular points of environmental law related to the Ocean and/or waste management. Closing date for applications is 31 July 2022. More information is available here.
The University of Greenwich (U.K.), with the support of NGO Human Rights at Sea, is offering a scholarship for a postgraduate researcher to address the relationship between International Human Rights Law (IHRL), the Law of the Sea and those other bodies of law of relevance within the maritime environment. The applicant must address the application of IHRL, the monitoring of human rights standards, compliance with and enforcement of the law. Closing date for applications is 30 June 2022. More information is available here and here.
CSO Alliance Launched to Support Vanuatu Initiative to Seek an ICJ Advisory Opinion on Climate Change
On 5 May 2022, the Civil Society Organisations Alliance to Support the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu’s Bid to Request a UN General Assembly Resolution Requesting an Advisory Opinion on Climate Change from the International Court of Justice (CSO Alliance) was launched. In September 2021 the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu formally announced Vanuatu’s intention to pursue a campaign to request an ICJ Advisory Opinion on the rights of current and future generations in the context of climate change. This followed the previous positive response of the leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum (50th Pacific Island Forum (August 2019) Forum Communique, para. 16), and has had the subsequent indicated support of the Heads of Government at the Thirty-Third Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) (Communique (March 2022)). Consistent with Article 65 of the Statute of the ICJ and Article 96(1) of the UN Charter, the Vanuatu campaign has signalled its intent to table a resolution proposal before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2022 which, if adopted, would request the ICJ Advisory Opinion. The “exact statement of the question upon which an opinion is required” (Article 65, ICJ Statute) does not appear to have been publicly disclosed to-date, but the most recent comments of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu (May 2022) refers to a request “to clarify the legal obligations of states to protect human rights and the environment from climate change”.
More information is available on the websites of the Vanuatu ICJ Initiative and the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change. On former related initiatives, see the 2011 (unsuccessful) attempt by Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands to have the UN General Assembly “request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the responsibilities of States under international law to ensure that activities carried out under their jurisdiction or control that emit greenhouse gases do not damage other States”, including an explicit reference to Article 194 of UNCLOS.
A Court of Appeal in Norway (Gulating Lagmannsrett) confirmed the prison sentence of a ship owner for aiding and abetting the attempt to export a ship to Pakistan for scrapping, in violation of the Norwegian Pollution Control Act. The Court of Appeal found that it makes little difference to the criminality of the act if a shipowner himself sells the ship directly to a scrapper on the beach in Gadani, or sells to an intermediary and criminally contributes to its export and scrapping. Further information may be found in this press release from the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim). The background history on the case of this ship – the Harrier – was also published by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) passed a motion on 7 September 2021 calling for a moratorium on deep seabed mining and a halt to the International Seabed Authority’s (ISA) issuing of new contracts for mining and for exploration of mining sites until certain conditions are met. Those conditions include conducting rigorous and transparent scientific research and impact assessments to comprehensively understand the environmental, social, cultural, and economic damage that mining could cause, and ensuring the effective protection of the marine environment. More information is available in the IUCN Motion 069.
United Kingdom charity Human Rights at Sea is recruiting New Members for its Board of Trustees. The role is for experienced and professional Trustees, which shall fill the remaining posts on the Board in preparation for international work in 2021 and beyond. The selected applicant is expected to be an “active ambassador” to the cause of defending human rights at sea. This is a pro bono role. More information is available here.
Closing date for applications is 8 July 2020 with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for a marine policy officer vacancy based in Brussels (Belgium). The officer will ensure that there is a coordinated approach across the WWF European network to effectively influence and implement EU marine policies including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSP) Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and International Ocean Governance. Further information is available here.
On the 23 September 2019 the meeting of the UN Global Compact Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business formally launched the Sustainable Ocean Principles. The principles recognize the shared responsibility of businesses to ensure a healthy oceans.
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.
During the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, a multi-stakeholder partnership, Friends of Ocean Action, was announced, 25 January 2018, with the objective “to help shape global action to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14”. For more information, see here.
At the same time, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, announced a High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, “which will be made up of heads of state and government from a broad range of coastal states, including developing countries”. For more information, see here.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation filed a notice of intent to sue the USA National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to protect humpback whale habitat in the Pacific Ocean, where the animals are said to be facing threats from fisheries, ship strikes and oil spills. The document, entitled “Violations of the Endangered Species Act; Failure to Designate Critical Habitat for Distinct Population Segments of Humpback Whales (Megaptera noveangliae)” may be found here.
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).
Peru has become the second state (following Indonesia) to sign a memorandum of understanding with Global Fishing Watch Inc to establish a framework for cooperation. Peru will be sharing information upon its commercial fishing fleets through the Global Fishing Watch system.
Announced, 27 September 2017, Peru also signaled a further framework cooperative agreement with Oceana (NGO) and ratification of the 2009 FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). Peru will implement the PSMA as of October.
The Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, constituted to deal with the Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire), delivered its Judgment. Among other points, it unanimously rejected Ghana’s claim that Côte d’Ivoire is estopped from objecting to the “customary equidistance boundary” and it found that Ghana did not violate the sovereign rights of Côte d’Ivoire. The Award may found here. A reaction by Tullow Oil plc, who explores the Tweneboa Enyenra Ntomme (TEN) oil fields on Ghana’s side of the delimitation line, may be found here.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation has produced a toolkit for its seafarer unions to help them lobby governments to implement international guidelines to prevent the unfair treatment of seafarers following accidents and pollution at sea. The toolkit highlights cases where seafarers have been scapegoated for accidents and pollution which have arisen as a result of circumstances beyond their control. The toolkit is available here.
On the 23 June 2017, the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) has issued Recommendation No. 17, entitled, Submarine Cable Operations in Deep Seabed Mining Concessions Designated by the International Seabed Authority. ICPC Recommendation No. 17 provides procedures for due diligence in the laying and repair of submarine cables in concessions designated by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for the exploration and/or exploitation of mineral resources in the “Area”.
The NGO Human Rights at Sea just published its “Voluntary Code of Conduct for Search and Rescue Operations undertaken by civil society Non-Governmental Organisations in the Mediterranean Sea”. This document is presented as the first voluntary minimum standard guidance working towards increased levels of joint co-ordination and co-operation for the on-going humanitarian relief effort in the Mediterranean region. The first edition of the document is intended to act as the basis for rapid iterative development with as many stakeholders as possible, including European Institutions, Agencies, shipping and fishing associations and military forces. The document can be found here.
The Rotterdam World Port Days will be held from the 2-4 September 2016, with events across the city centre and port area of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Entrance is free, but some excursions require the purchase of a ticket.
For more information, and programme, see here.
World Oceans Day is celebrated today, the 8th June. This year’s theme is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”, with a focus upon plastic pollution. Various events around the World continue today, and into the forthcoming weekend, under the coordination of The Ocean Project.
For more information on what you can do, and events nearby, consult the website here.