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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South Africa: First vessel detention under work in fishing convention

Following the previously reported entry into force, the first fishing vessel detention under the port state inspection provisions of the ILO Convention (No. 188) concerning work in the fishing sector occurred in June 2018, Cape Town, South Africa. Steps for rectification and a detention fee were required before the vessel was permitted to leave.

For more information, see the ILO press release.

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Call for papers: Tendencies in Legal Approaches and Instruments for the Protection of Ecological Systems

The Centre for International and Transnational Tendencies in Law at Aarhus University,  Denmark, is hosting a workshop on the transnational development and use of legal norms and other instruments of legal relevance that have an impact on the protection of threatened ecosystems. The workshop will focus on transnational and multi-level aspects in environmental governance and regulation of ecosystems’ protection and international conservation of terrestrial and marine areas. One of the topics of the call is “the effectiveness of the different approaches and instruments (including the use of liability concepts) used in the marine protection”. The deadline for abstract submission is 31 August 2018. The workshop is set to happen on 25-26 October 2018. The call for papers may be found here.

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Caspian: Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea signed

The member states of the informal group “Caspian-five”, composed of Azerbaijan, IranKazakhstanRussia and Turkmenistan, have signed (12 August 2018) the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. This international treaty replaces previous Soviet-Iranian instruments, namely the Treaty of Friendship between Persia and the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic of February 26, 1921 and  the Treaty on trade and navigation of 25 March 1940. With this new treaty, the parties agree that the Caspian Sea is not a lake. Among other issues addressed by the treaty, the Caspian Sea bordering states will now be able to lay pipelines on the seabed without obtaining the approval of all the other coastal states, but rather only the approval from those coastal states whose sector the pipeline should pass through (Article 14). The treaty also features the principle of absence of armed forces not belonging to the parties in the Caspian Sea (Article 3). Six other international legal instruments were also signed by the parties, namely on the fight against terrorism, the fight against organised crime, economic cooperation, transportation, accident prevention, and  interaction of border authorities. The text of the agreement may be found here (in Farsi). A statement from the United Nations Secretary-General may be found here.

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Caspian Sea region oil and natural gas infrastructure. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Event: World Port Days 2018

The port of Rotterdam shall host its annual World Port Days festival, 7-9 September  2018 (Rotterdam, The Netherlands). The inner city festival is free to enter and no ticket required. Excursions may require a ticket, some of which carry a fee. Excursion tickets will be on sale 20 August 2018, bar a few available now.

For more information, see the program.

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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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China: extension and upgrade of the domestic ECA proposed

The Ministry of Transport of China has published (9 July 2018) an opinion letter on the draft “Ship Emission Control Area Adjustment Plan”. The draft plan proposes the extension of China’s domestic emission control areas (ECA) to the entire coastline. Accordingly, the “Implementation Plan on Domestic Emission Control Areas in Waters of the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and Bohai Rim (Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei)” could be made applicable to any areas within 12 nautical miles of the coast, as well as to Hainan waters. The draft plan aims at “accelerating the construction of an ecological civilization” and could become effective as from 2019. Under this draft plan, ships sailing and docking in the ECA should use fuels with a SOX content of 0.5% or less; from January 1, 2020, ships berthing in the ECA should use fuel of 0.1% or less. For Hainan waters, the draft plan mentions stricter standards to be applied from January 1, 2020, stating that fuels used in navigation and berthing should both be at or under the 0.1% threshold. In addition, the draft plan also aims at limiting NOX emissions, strenghtening the applicable 2016 standard (see Limits and measurement methods for exhaust pollutants from marine engines (China I, II)). The opinion letter may be found here (in Chinese). More information is available here (in Chinese) and here (in Chinese).

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