Law of the Sea

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Covid-19: Italy is not a “place of safety” anymore. Is the decision to close Italian ports compliant with human rights obligations?

The Inter-ministerial Decree n. 150 of 7 April 2020 of the Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, in agreement with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Health, has established that: For the entire period of health emergency resulting from the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Italian ports will lack the necessary requirements to be classified “Place of Safety” under the definition of the Hamburg Convention on search and maritime rescue, for cases of rescue carried out by naval units flying a foreign flag outside the Italian SAR [Search and Rescue] area. In short, the Decree intends to prevent all the "castaways" (in particular, migrants and asylum seekers) rescued by NGOs flying non-Italian flags from landing in Italian ports. The measure is justified, juridically, with the declaration of a state of emergency, and politically, with the need to protect public health. The preventive effect would be threefold: first, avoidance of new outbreaks from potentially infected migrants; second, prevention of further burdens on the already overloaded national health…

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Port Denials and Restrictions in Times of Pandemic: Did International Law Lose its North Star?

Two months and a half after the World Health Organization declared the spread of the corona virus to be a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), the maritime world is facing a constantly increasing array of port restrictions and denials. States have adopted variously restrictive measures which range from indiscriminate prohibitions on access to ports to…

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Conditional Decisions: A Solution for Ukraine v. Russia and Other Similar Cases?

On 21 February 2020, the tribunal in the Coastal State Rights arbitration between Ukraine and Russia rendered an award on preliminary objections. Although the tribunal decided that the case would proceed to the merits, it held that it did not have jurisdiction over any of Ukraine’s claims that would “necessarily…

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The Award concerning Preliminary Objections in Ukraine v. Russia : Observations regarding the Implicated Status of Crimea and the Sea of Azov

On 21 February 2020 the arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait (Ukraine v. the Russian Federation) rendered its…

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A Very Quick Look at the Revised Draft Text of the new Agreement on Marine Biodiversity in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction

  On 27 November 2019 the President of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the conservation of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) issued a revision of the Draft text of an agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of…

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