On the 30 October 2019, three maritime delimitation agreements concerning the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the southern part of the “Banana Hole” (North Atlantic) were signed, between Norway and Iceland, Norway and Denmark/The Faroe Islands and Iceland and Denmark/The Faroe Islands respectively. The Delimitation Agreements will enter into force when both parties to the respective Agreements have ratified the Agreement.
For further information see the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danish). While the text of the Agreements is not yet published, it is stated by Norway to be in line with the previous 2006 Agreed Minutes where authors may also find a (preliminary and illustrative) 2006 map.
On the 21 October 2019, during the Torremolinos Ministerial Conference on Fishing Vessel Safety and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, forty-eight states signed the Torremolinos Declaration. The Torremolinos Declaration expresses their determination to take action to ensure the entry-into-force criteria of the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety are met by the target date of 11 October 2022. The Declaration is open for signature until 21 October 2020.
On the 21 October 2019 the accessions of the Cook Islands and Sao Tome and Principe to the 2012 Cape Town Agreement brings the total contracting parties to 13 states (not yet in force).
On the 23 October 2019 the Ministerial Conference adopted 2 resolutions, whereby Ministerial Conference Resolution 1 adopted the Torremolinos Statement on the Cape Town Agreement of 2012, relating to fishing vessel safety, and combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This encourages states to sign the Torremolinos Declaration and become party to the 2012 Cape Town Agreement and and the 1995 STCW-F Convention.
For more information see the IMO pages here and here.
The Government of India (Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai) has issued an Order on the prohibition of use of single use plastics on board ships. This ban is applicable to all Indian ships and to foreign ships in port or within Indian waters. The enforcement shall be undertaken on the basis of flag and port state capacity surveys, inspections and audits.
Surveyors carrying out port state inspection of foreign flag vessels are expected to ensure that single use plastics are not in use and are kept locked in a store during their stay in Indian ports and on their passage through the territorial waters of India. A foreign ship intending to enter an Indian port is required to make a log entry identifying “Single Use Plastic Items” on board the ship. No single use plastic items are to be discharged to port reception facilities at an Indian port. The Order further clarifies that no detention of foreign ships is to be enforced.
DGS Order No. 05 (16 October 2019) is available here.
On 24 September 2019 the State of Palestine deposited a second Declaration of the State of Palestine regarding the maritime boundaries of the State of Palestine in accordance with the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. In addition to repeating the provisions of the 2015 Declaration, the 2019 declaration includes geographical coordinates and an illustrative map which define the baselines and limits of the Palestinian claim:
On the 8 October 2019 the Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine also deposited a “legal file on the maritime borders of Palestine” with the Secretary General of the Arab League, including the map and a request for circulation.
The United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) has decided to include the topic “sea-level rise in relation to international law” in its programme of work and established a Study Group. The Study Group will focus on the subject of sea-level rise in relation to the law of the sea. The ILC expects to receive, by 31 December 2019, examples from States of their practice that could be relevant (even if indirectly) to sea-level rise or other changes in circumstances of a similar nature. Such practice could, for example, relate to baselines and where applicable archipelagic baselines, closing lines, low-tide elevations, islands, artificial islands, land reclamation and other coastal fortification measures, limits of maritime zones, delimitation of maritime boundaries, and any other issues relevant to the subject. More information is available here.
The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has approved and endorsed a joint claim from the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. The joint claim over 600,000 square kilometers of additional seabed, on what is known as the Ontong Java Plateau, was lodged in 2009. More information is available here and here.
Tuvaijuittuq is the first Marine Protected Area to be designated by ministerial order under the Oceans Act for interim protection. Under the order, no new or additional human activities will be allowed to occur in the area for up to five years, with the following exceptions: the exercise of Inuit rights respecting wildlife harvesting as provided for under the Nunavut Agreement; marine scientific research consistent with the conservation objectives of the MPA; safety, security and emergency activities; certain activities carried out by a foreign national, entity, ship or state. The objective of this MPA is to contribute to the conservation, protection and understanding of the natural diversity, productivity and dynamism of the High Arctic sea ice ecosystem. This MPA encompasses an area of 319 411 km2. More information is available here.