The intertwined issues of the delimitation of maritime boundaries and the division of the resources, particularly petroleum resources, of the Timor Sea have served as a persistent irritant in bilateral relations between Australia and East Timor since the latter's independence in 2002. In 2003 an International Unitization Agreement for the Greater Sunrise complex of fields was signed. This was followed by the conclusion in 2006 of the Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea. The subsequent entry into force of these agreements, in February 2007, appears to resolve this contentious dispute, at least for the foreseeable future. This article explores the background to the dispute and positions of the parties, traces the progress of negotiations towards its interim resolution and then assesses the agreements themselves. It is concluded that while the agreements are, on balance, somewhat more favourable to Australia than to East Timor, they can still be viewed as beneficial to both parties.
Baselines are crucial to the definition of maritime claims and the delimitation of maritime boundaries. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) provides for several distinct types of baseline. These various baselines are discussed relative to their practical application over the past three decades. While some LOSC baseline provisions have proved to be well drafted and have led to broad compliance, the loose language contained in other baselines Articles has resulted in their being interpreted liberally. Contemporary and emerging trends and challenges are also highlighted.
The substantial rise in the threat of attacks against shipping off the coast of Somalia from 2008 prompted a range of counter-piracy efforts. Among these measures the embarkation of privately contracted armed security personnel (pcasp) has been credited as having played an important role in the recent reduction in ‘pirate’ attacks. Despite considerable reluctance on the part of the shipping industry, the use of pcasp has become increasingly prevalent giving rise to practical and legal concerns over this practice. The advent of the use of pcasp is set in context, efforts towards their regulation outlined and problematic issues highlighted.
Sea level rise has provoked widespread concerns that low-lying parts of coastal States including parts or even the entirety of small island developing States face a looming threat of erosion and inundation. Concerns over the potential impacts of sea level rise on the location of baselines along the coast and therefore on the scope of national claims to maritime jurisdiction have also been raised. The article outlines climate change impacts on the oceans before briefly reviewing projections of sea level rise. A number of the complexities and uncertainties which make prediction of the scale and speed of global sea level rise problematic are highlighted. The importance of assessing relative sea level against the contrasting responses of coasts with diverse geophysical characteristics and distinct coastal ecosystems is emphasised. Potential impacts on island coastlines in the Pacific are then considered and implications maritime claims discussed.