A master of a coastal trading vessel was convicted and fined in Australia’s Cairns Magistrates Court for being in charge of a ship that entered a shipping exclusion area in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The master pleaded guilty to entering an exclusion zone near the Turtle Group of Islands, 28km northwest of Cape Flattery, in November 2015. Under the Marine Park legislation, ships must only travel in designated shipping areas or general use zones to protect the marine environment, and commercial ships are monitored for their compliance. More information about this case may be found here.
Author Archives: N.F. Coelho
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.
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.
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.
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).
The Argentine National Sanitary Authorities (SENASA) has introduced Resolution 693-E/2017, which entered into force on 1 November 2017. This Resolution outlines a control system for the approval of holds/tanks of vessels and barges destined to export grains, its products and by-products. Specific criteria for when to object to or reject holds or tanks, such as the presence of live insects, loose rust scale, excessive humidity, etc., are included. This Resolution shall be applicable to all river and maritime ports. It will initially be in operation for a trial period of 1 year. The Resolution is available here (in Spanish) or here (English translation).
The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig dismissed on 28 November 2017 the actions brought by the towns of Cuxhaven and Otterndorf, as well as by Elbe and coastal fishermen, against the planning approval decisions for the fairway adaptation in the lower and outer Elbe. The court said that while assessing the appeals it decided to give priority to the public interest stemming from the deepened Elbe waterway. The project, aimed at adjusting the navigation channel on the lower and outer Elbe river, would enable the Port of Hamburg to accommodate mega ships. Around 130 kilometers of the river is to be dredged, enabling container ships with a 14.5 meter draft to reach the port. More information may be found here (in German).