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Recommendations on the Russian Federation’s Proposed Outer Continental Shelf in the Arctic Area

On 6 February 2023 the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) made its recommendations to the Russian Federation under Article 76(8) and Article 3 of Annex II to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in regard to the Arctic area. The Russian submission was initially made in 2001 but revised in 2015 and further revised in 2021. The proposed outer limits of the continental shelf were significantly expanded in the course of these sequential revisions. While the CLCS did not approve the entirety of the approximate 2 million square kilometres claimed by the Russian Federation, the lion’s share of the claim was approved, disapproving only approximately 300.000 square kilometres of claimed entitlement. Finally, on 14 February 2023, Russia submitted a revised submission, submitting further data in regard to the local part of the Amundsen Basin. Outer Continental Shelf The continental shelf begins where the territorial sea ends. The continental…

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Vessel-Source Marine Pollution and the Non-Suspension of Coastal State or Port State Proceedings: Pinpointing Flag States of Repeat Disregard in Article 228 of UNCLOS?

As we straddle the 40th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 50th Anniversary of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), State and academic attention re-focuses on tackling marine pollution. Indeed, an ITLOS Advisory Opinion concerning Part XII will likely address MARPOL’s incorporation through the UNCLOS ‘rules…

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The Competence of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in its New Advisory Proceedings on Climate Change

On the sidelines of last year’s COP26, Antigua and Barbuda and Tuvalu concluded the Agreement for the Establishment of the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (‘the Agreement’ establishing ‘the Commission’). The Agreement is open to signature by all 39 members of the Alliance of Small Island States, and currently also includes…

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Violations of Sovereign Rights at a Foreign EEZ: Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Colombia)

On 21 April 2022, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered judgment in the Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Colombia) case. Nicaragua instituted proceedings against Colombia regarding, among others, (1) Colombia’s interference with fishing and marine scientific research (MSR) activities of Nicaraguan-flagged or Nicaraguan-licensed vessels in Nicaragua’s EEZ…

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China as a Maritime Power and the Interpretation of Innocent Passage

Maritime powers have been instrumental in shaping the development of the Law of the Sea (LoS). While not uncontested, their inclusion and interpretation of key concepts into the LoS become dominant over time. As a result, expectations increase for other states to accept these or risk being cast as counter-normative actors. Nevertheless, the dominant interpretation of…

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