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 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and outside the framework of the Convention. It covers developments during 2018. The most significant developments during the year were the judgment of the International Court of Justice in Costa Rica v. Nicaragua, delimiting the maritime boundaries between the two States’ overlapping maritime zones in both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean; the report of the Conciliation Commission concerning maritime boundary arrangements between Timor-Leste and Australia; and the findings of a dispute settlement body of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization.
Pieter Bekker and Robert van de Poll
This article analyses the unresolved maritime boundary situated in Arctic waters in the Beaufort Sea, between Canada and the United States through an integrated law-and-science approach incorporating new imagery technology. Resolving the Canada-United States disagreement over the Beaufort Sea boundary based on modern geo-scientific technology and the three-step delimitation methodology developed in the jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals could serve as a catalyst for the peaceful and equitable resolution of all other unresolved boundaries in the Arctic Ocean. This includes the boundaries involving Russia, which can claim more than 40 per cent of the Arctic shoreline. Given that the United States is not a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, this article focuses on mechanisms available to Canada and the United States under general international law and by applying ‘best law’ and ‘best science’.
In 2018 the IMO adopted the initial Strategy for the international shipping industry’s reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions towards achieving the goal set in the 2015 Paris Agreement. At this time the Strategy is no more than a preliminary structure to frame the measures that will need to be adopted for the short, medium and long terms. In the short term (2018–2023) a first suite of measures will be adopted, and the initial Strategy will be revised and adopted as changed in 2023 with proposed measures for the medium term (2023–2030) and long term (2030–2050 and beyond). New international standards, tools and best practices will be needed to supplement the existing energy efficiency management rules in the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973/78. This article discusses the Strategy and the role of the IMO in leading the shipping industry on the road to decarbonization.
Climate change-induced sea-level rise will result in the partial or complete inundation of low-lying coastal areas and insular features. The consequences of this include the loss of baselines from which maritime zones are established. The loss of baselines raises a number of legal questions, in particular concerning the legal status of maritime entitlements and in some cases the potential loss of statehood. Solutions proposed include maintaining existing baselines or outer limits of maritime zones, or the construction de novo of artificial islands. This article examines the current state of international law under the international climate-change regime and the law of the sea in relation to adaptation and adaptive measures, such as maintaining of baselines, island fortification and the construction of artificial islands. In addition, the article explores the question as to whether measures such as maintaining baselines would constitute adaptive measures under the existing climate-change regime.
The use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by vessels in Arctic waters present unique challenges to the fragile marine environment and vulnerable Arctic communities. Discussions on the regulation of HFO use in Arctic waters have undergone several transformations, from strong resistance by several states before and during the negotiations of the Polar Code, to stalemate, to reluctant evaluation of options, before the emergence of a potential mandatory ban. An HFO ban is expected to be adopted by the International Maritime Organization in 2021 at the earliest. This article examines the formation, development and application of the ban on HFO use by vessels in Arctic waters, and discusses the potential effectiveness of the ban.