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Peaceful Maritime Engagement in East Asia and the Pacific Region includes contributions from the most influential figures in the law of the sea to provide context and direction for developing maritime governance in East Asia and the Pacific Ocean. Peaceful management of disputes includes cooperation over deep seabed mining, negotiations for a legally binding instrument on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, contending approaches to baselines and East Asia maritime boundary disputes, freedom of navigation and maritime law enforcement. Chapters also explore new interpretations for preservation of the marine environment and the special problems posed by marine plastics and nexus between the ocean and climate change.

Abstract

On 2 March 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) requested the Executive Director of UNEP to convene an international negotiating committee towards the negotiation of an international legally binding instrument on plastics by 2024. This article examines some of the proposed elements of such an instrument and outlines the next steps that can be expected in the negotiations. It also reflects on the results of the ad hoc open-ended working group to prepare for the work of the intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, which was convened in Dakar, Senegal, from 30 May to 1 June 2022. Ensuring legal certainty of key features of the new agreement, such as the circular economy and support for developing countries and countries with economies in transition, will be subject to particular scrutiny.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Abstract

This article analyses the adjudicated boundary between Somalia and Kenya in the Indian Ocean through an integrated law-and-science approach. Using recent high-resolution satellite imagery and specialised boundary software, it seeks to ‘reverse-engineer’ the 12 October 2021 ruling of the International Court of Justice with a particular focus on issues of transparency and predictability. The article highlights how ambiguities in the identification of basepoints underlying an adjudicated boundary and the reliance on a relatively small-scale nautical chart based on dated surveys that does not reflect the physical reality of the relevant coast could undermine the authority of an adjudicated boundary obtained after years of legal proceedings. Addressing the issue of technical support in decision-making on adjudicated boundaries, the article proposes various means to reduce controversies regarding maritime boundary delimitation and to make the delimitation process more transparent and predictable.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Author:

Abstract

The Collective Arrangement, subscribed to by OSPAR and NEAFC and presented as a model by these organisations, suggests that regional seas organisations, such as OSPAR, are to act as standard setters for the conservation of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). The model suggests that regional seas organisations and other organisations, such as NEAFC, the IMO and the ISA, then are to regulate human activities for which they are competent within these conservation standards. This article explores whether the Collective Arrangement might indeed function as a model for ocean governance in ABNJ and merits encouragement in a future BBNJ agreement. It concludes that the Collective Arrangement, as a model, raises both opportunities and challenges but that it might not be transplantable to other areas beyond national jurisdiction, given that the elements that characterise cooperation in the North-East Atlantic are not present in most other areas in ABNJ.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Author:

Abstract

This is the latest in a series of annual surveys in this Journal reviewing dispute settlement in the law of the sea, both under Part XV of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and outside the framework of the Convention. The most significant developments during 2021 were a judgment of a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea finding that it had jurisdiction to delimit a maritime boundary between Mauritius and the Maldives and a judgment of the International Court of Justice delimiting the maritime boundary between Somalia and Kenya.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Abstract

In June 2021, the Republic of Nauru invoked a treaty provision known as the ‘two-year rule’ at the International Seabed Authority (ISA). Effectively, this provision requires the Council of the ISA to complete the elaboration and adoption of the necessary regulations within two years if requested by a Member State whose national intends to apply for the approval of a plan of work for the exploitation of seabed minerals in the Area. If the Council is unable to complete the elaboration of the regulations within the prescribed time and an exploitation application is submitted, the Council would still have to ‘consider’ and ‘provisionally approve’ the same despite the absence of the exploitation regulations. This article undertakes a detailed analysis of the two-year rule, particularly underscoring its legal consequences and implications, as the ISA pushes forward in developing exploitation regulations in the light of its invocation.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Abstract

Fitness for purpose of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) in the twenty-first century has been at the core of legal and political discussions. Such an inquiry is pertinent for small island developing States (SIDS), which have experienced first-hand the consequences of anthropogenic disturbances on the ocean. This study examines whether the provisions governing marine scientific research (MSR) in the LOSC provide mechanisms to strengthen SIDS scientific and technological capacities. It is suggested that the framework governing MSR seeks to promote fair and equitable benefit sharing and has rules enabling the time element therein. Accordingly, the consent regimes for MSR, rules on international cooperation, and the framework for the transfer of marine technology could serve the end of enhancing SIDS capacities. This interpretation shifts the avenues of inquiry from a descriptive to an empirical perspective.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Author:

Abstract

This article examines the possibility of autonomous inspection robots being used to undertake inspection tasks conducted on the basis of port State jurisdiction in European Union (EU) Member States’ ports. A brief overview of technical research concerning such robots is offered. The article then outlines the EU legal framework concerning port State jurisdiction, and contextualises this legal landscape by recalling the history of attempts at the EU and international level to regulate in response to maritime disasters since the 1980s. Based on a close reading of the Port State Control Directive, alongside analysis of the aims pursued and policy options proposed in the context of the European Commission’s significant ongoing work on a review of this instrument, it is clear that the adoption of autonomous inspection technologies could offer significant benefits, permitting more efficient completion of existing inspection tasks and potentially changing what is and is not considered feasible in inspection scenarios.

Open Access
In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law