Category Archives: State Practice

Guernsey: Bailiwick’s territorial seas extended

The Bailiwick of Guernsey’s territorial seas shall increase in size on 23 July 2019. The current limit of the Bailiwick’s territorial seas is 3 nautical miles (nm) from the baselines. The new limit will be 12 nm. The territorial sea would extend to less than 12 nm wherever the distance between the baselines of the Bailiwick and the baselines of another party (France or Jersey) is less than 24 nm. Fishing access in the waters around the Bailiwick, from 0 to 12 nautical miles, will remain unchanged on the date of extension. The Bailiwick fisheries management regime will also remain the same as it was before extension until any new regime is subsequently agreed. More information is available here.

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Bailiwick of Guernsey maritime boundaries. Source: States of Guernsey.

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IGC President’s Draft Text of A BBNJ Agreement

The President of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on an 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 has released an advanced version of the text, entitled, Draft text of an agreement 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, 25 June 2019. This was produced in response to a request during the second session of the IGC. Its aim is “to facilitate further progress in the negotiations”.

For the draft text, see here.

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ICJ: court seised of dispute between Guatemala and Belize

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), was seised of a dispute between Guatemala and Belize by way of a special agreement. In 2008, the two States concluded an agreement to submit Guatemala’s territorial, insular and maritime claim to the International Court of Justice, which was subsequently amended by a protocol concluded in 2015. The Parties now request the Court to determine in accordance with applicable rules of international law as specified in Article 38(1) of the Statute of the Court any and all legal claims of Guatemala against Belize to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories, to declare the rights therein of both Parties, and to determine the boundaries between their respective territories and areas.

More information on the case and the referenda that led to it can be found in the ICJ press release, at the Belize Referendum Commission website and in a presentation held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala (in Spanish).

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Canada: Partial Submission to CLCS on Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf (Arctic Ocean)

In accordance with Article 76(8) of UNCLOS, Canada has on 23 May 2019 made a partial submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) regarding its continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. The submission will be included in the provisional agenda of the fifty-second session of the CLCS.

For further information and an executive summary see here and the press release. This follows the 11 April 2019 partial submission of Indonesia in respect of an area North of Papua (Eauripik Rise) and the 26 March 2019 partial submission of Mauritius concerning the Southern Chagos Archipelago region.

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ITLOS: Case concerning the detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels (Ukraine v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has delivered its Order of 25 May 2019 in respect of Case No. 26, Case concerning the detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels (Ukraine v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures. The Tribunal concluded that prima facie the UNCLOS Annex VII arbitral tribunal would have jurisdiction over the submitted dispute. The Tribunal prescribed various provisional measures under Article 290(5) of UNCLOS.

For an overview see the press release. Two Declarations, three Separate Opinions and one Dissenting Opinion were appended to the Order of 25 May 2019, available here. Ukraine and Russia have both responded through their respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Netherlands/Russia: Settlement Concerning the Arctic Sunrise

Without prejudice to their legal positions in The Arctic Sunrise Arbitration (Netherlands v. Russia), Russia and The Netherlands have reached a full and final settlement of dispute in respect of the Arctic Sunrise incident of September 2013. The agreement remains confidential, but the Joint Statement of 17 May 2019 nonetheless recognizes an understanding upon the rights and responsibilities of both the coastal state and flag state in the EEZ. This includes recognition of the rights related to peaceful protest. Joint Russian-Dutch research in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation is also promoted.

See the Joint Statement here and here.

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CLCS: Bouvetøya outer continental shelf limits clarified

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has clarified the extent of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles outside Bouvet Island (Bouvetøya). The CLCS recommendation is in line with Norway’s proposal submitted in 2009 and revised in 2015. This means that the Norwegian continental shelf surrounding the island amounts to about 683,730 km2, of which 195,120 km2 is beyond 200 nautical miles. The CLCS recommendation gives Norway a basis for determining the extent of the shelf outside Bouvet Island with binding effect. The Statement by the CLCS Chair, dated 29 March 2019, may be found here.

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The continental shelf at Bouvetøya. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

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