The safety of offshore oil and gas facilities is a deep concern in relation to the security of China’s fossil energy supply. At present, there are a series of international law protection systems with the offshore facility safety zone system as the core. Most of world’s major maritime countries have established offshore oil and gas facilities protection systems in the form of domestic legislation in accordance with relevant international law, and some of them have adopted measures expanding the scope of their safety zones to strengthen protection. However, there remain some defects in the existing international law system. Therefore, the Chinese government needs to promptly clarify its position on issues related to the offshore facilities safety zone system, and propose the formulation of a specialised convention.
This article discusses whether the regime of the continental shelf includes a right to conserve living natural resources and whether a unilateral establishment of a ban on bottom trawl fishing is possible on the high seas superjacent the extended continental shelf (ECS). Based on Article 77 and Part XII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal States can impose reasonable conservation measures to protect sedentary species from harmful fishing practices. The article also explores how the competing rights of coastal and flag States, as well rights of coastal States with overlapping ECS entitlements, should be balanced in case of the imposition of unilateral conservation measures.
In order to engage in deep sea mining activities on the international seabed (otherwise known as ‘the Area’), non-State actors must be sponsored by a State, which bears the responsibility to ensure that the sponsored entity complies with the applicable rules. Not only the State of nationality, but also the State which exercises ‘effective control’ might be required to serve as a sponsoring State, depending on the circumstances. However, it is not completely clear how ‘effective control’ should be interpreted. Forum shopping seems a realistic possibility, and the recent trend of partnerships between private deep sea mining companies and developing States can produce similar effects. These collaborations might be beneficial to both parties, but given the privileges awarded to developing States, it should be scrutinised as to whether such partnerships undermine the principle of the common heritage of mankind and the objective to realise benefits for mankind as a whole.
Activities to tackle marine debris are conducted on the high seas by The Ocean Cleanup. The high seas are open to all States and may be used as long this is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) and other rules of international law. This article argues that the LOSC provides for the freedom to use the high seas to protect and preserve the marine environment, including tackling marine debris, when interpreting Article 87 of the LOSC in light of present day needs.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) regulates the establishment of the outer limits of its continental shelf beyond 200 miles by a coastal State. Such limits are legitimised when based on the recommendations of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) under LOSC Article 76(8). The coastal State must first submit the information for delineating the limits to the CLCS, which will evaluate the information before providing recommendations. The CLCS shall not consider the submission made by any State concerned in a land or maritime dispute unless consent from all disputing parties is given under paragraph 5(a) of Annex I to the CLCS Rules of Procedure. This article interprets paragraph 5(a) and examines the subsequent practice of States sending submissions and/or notifying the CLCS of disputes, and the CLCS in handling various submissions involved in these disputes.
This article investigates the contribution of the Norwegian integrated marine management (IMM) plans to marine environmental protection and conservation. These plans have been described as international best practice, and the government’s goal is ‘for Norway to be a pioneer in developing an integrated ecosystem-based management regime for marine areas’. The plans pursue other objectives, including sustainable use and value creation, but this article focuses on their contribution to environmental objectives. By means of a problem analysis, the article outlines three approaches to ‘marine environmental protection and conservation’ that contribute thereto in profoundly different ways. The contribution of the IMM plans to each of these approaches is examined, leading to the conclusion that two are embedded in the plans, which therefore primarily contribute to some reduced harm, as opposed to contributing to long-term marine environmental protection. This suggests that integrated marine plans and policies are relevant for more restricted environmental objectives.