Category Archives: Jurisprudence

Australia: ship master convicted and fined for entering no-go zone

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.

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India: M/V Seaman Guard Ohio crew and persons aboard aquitted

Dated the 27 November 2017, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court acquitted the 35 person aboard the M/V Seaman Guard Ohio, arrested four years ago for offences under the 1959 Arms Act. Of interest to law of the sea scholars, the case touched upon the drawing of baselines, innocent passage, and the stopping and anchoring rendered necessary by force majeure or distress (UNCLOS, art. 18(2)).

A copy of the judgement is available here.

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Spain: court awards compensation for Prestige damages

The provincial court (Audiencia Provincial) of A Coruña, in Spain, has awarded the Spanish state EUR 1.6 billion in damages over the 2002 Prestige oil spill. The court also said the regional government of Galicia must be compensated EUR 1.8 million; France, which was also affected, will be compensated EUR 61 million. Various private parties were awarded compensation as well. The sum will have to be paid by the captain of the ship and the insurance (The London Steamship Owners Mutual Insurance Association) or by the owners of the ship (Mare Shipping Inc.); the award also mentions the obligation of the IOPC Funds to compensate for damages up to the limits established in the applicable treaty. The text of the award, dated 15 November 2017, may be found here (in Spanish).

Update (21 Nov. 2017): The London P&I Club has reacted to the Prestige judgment, assessing the claims and presenting the next steps ahead. The note may be found here.

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PCA: Timor-Leste and Australia reach agreement on maritime boundary treaty

Through a series of confidential meetings with a Conciliation Commission in The Hague, Timor-Leste and Australia have reached agreement on the complete text of a draft treaty which delimits the maritime boundary between them in the Timor Sea. This draft treaty also addresses the legal status of the Greater Sunrise gas field, the establishment of a Special Regime for Greater Sunrise, a pathway to the development of the resource, and the sharing of the resulting revenue. The Parties will now pursue their domestic approval processes in order to proceed with the signing of the Treaty. More information on this treaty is available here.

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ITLOS: Judgment on the Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire Dispute

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.

ITLOS

The single maritime boundary, taken from the Judgment (p. 150).

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PCA: Timor-Leste and Australia Maritime Boundary Conciliation (update)

The conciliation proceedings between the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, pursuant to article 298 and Annex V of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, has reached “agreement on the central elements of a maritime boundary delimitation between them in the Timor Sea”, on the 30 August 2017.

For more information see Press Release No. 9, and, generally, PCA Case No. 2016-10. Previous reporting may be found here.

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PCA: Arctic Sunrise Arbitration (Netherlands v. Russia) Award on Compensation

The Tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the UNCLOS in the matter of the Arctic Sunrise Arbitration (Netherlands v. Russia) has rendered its Award on Compensation (see previous posts here and here). In a decision dated 10 July 2017, the Tribunal unanimously determined the quantum of compensation owed by Russia to the Netherlands. The Award may be found here. The press release, which also features the quantum of compensation, may be found here.

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