Law of the Sea

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Troubled Waters in the Eastern Mediterranean

Turkey’s dispatch on August 10 of the seismic research vessel Oruҫ Reis under escort of five naval vessels into disputed waters of the Eastern Mediterranean is the latest salvo in the legal and rhetorical battle being waged in the region’s waters, with hydrocarbon extraction rights as the ultimate prize.  After a brief discussion of the actual deployment of the Oruҫ Reis and its consequences to date, this article examines the various maritime claims of the nations most involved in this dispute – Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus – and analyses both the challenges and the opportunities that exist in achieving an equitable apportionment between these nations of the continental shelf and the hydrocarbon resources contained therein. The voyage of the Oruҫ Reis Turkey initially announced that the Oruҫ Reis would embark on a seismic research voyage in disputed waters to the west of Cyprus on July 21; however, this voyage was suspended on July 28 as a de-escalatory gesture to allow for a more conducive atmosphere for negotiations with Greece…

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The Law of Maritime Neutrality and Submarine Cables

In an era of great power competition in which states seek to avoid “taking sides,” the international law of neutrality deserves greater attention. Information technology is the contemporary currency of power and the global network of over 420 submarine cables spanning some 700,000 miles is the information superhighway used for sharing 97 percent of…

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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…

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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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