Law of the Sea

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Persons at Sea, International Law and Covid-19

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect people around the world, the scholarly debate on how to uphold the rule of law amid the crisis remains relevant. A significant aspect of this debate has focused on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on human rights (see, for example, here, here and here). However, it is not only the human rights of people on land that have been affected by the pandemic. One of the measures that states adopted to contain the spread of the virus has been port restrictions which range from delayed port clearance and prevention of crew or passengers from embarking or disembarking to prevention of discharging or loading cargo, taking on fuel, water, food or supplies and imposition of quarantine. These restrictions have caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis at sea affecting the human rights of almost all persons found at sea during the pandemic be it for employment, leisure, military purposes or migration. This short post puts a spotlight on the impact that port restrictions, as a Covid-19 precaution, have had…

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The Nave Andromeda and the seven stowaways

On 25 October 2020, an incident involving seven stowaways occurred on the Nave Andromeda (IMO: 9580405), a crude oil tanker flying the flag of Liberia. The vessel was on its way from Lagos, Nigeria (having left the port of Lagos on 6 October 2020) to Southampton, United Kingdom (UK). This blog post describes the incident in more…

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Reflections on the Maersk Etienne Standoff and its Ramifications for the Duty to Render Assistance at Sea

The duty to render assistance at sea is a long-established rule of international law. The genesis of this obligation lies in the overwhelming need to protect life at sea. In recent years, the duty has had to respond to challenges posed by the phenomenon of irregular mass migration by sea. The sheer magnitude of the problem has placed…

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Immunities and Compromissory Clauses: Making Sense of Enrica Lexie (Part II)

In Part I of this post, we discussed how the Arbitral Tribunal, in its recently-released award in the Enrica Lexie case, approached the question of incidental jurisdiction over questions of immunity. While the Tribunal’s jurisdiction, under Article 288 UNCLOS, was limited to ‘dispute[s] concerning the interpretation or application of th[e] [Law of the Sea] Convention’…

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Immunities and Compromissory Clauses: Making Sense of Enrica Lexie (Part I)

Small(ish) disputes can make for significant holdings. From Nottebohm to Lotus to AAPL v Sri Lanka, the list of relatively limited incidents prompting far-reaching judicial and arbitral pronouncements is long. We may now have to add Enrica Lexie to it. The PCA’s award…

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