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Critical Maritime Infrastructure and the Regime of the EEZ: A Blank Cheque for Saboteurs?

In April 2023, Scandinavian journalists uncovered that Russia was running a large-scale programme to spy on offshore wind farms, submarine cables and pipelines, and other infrastructure in the North and Baltic Seas. Security experts say the activities are likely to prepare the ground for sabotage. Foreign Policy commented: “Russian ‘Ghost Ships’ Are Turning the Seabed into a Future Battlefield”. In response to this threat, the North and Baltic Sea countries have joined forces. Part of the effort is to increase the naval presence in the region. Moreover, NATO has established a cell and a network for coordinating the protection of critical undersea infrastructure. Protecting maritime infrastructure from sabotage is extremely difficult – not just for practical reasons. There are also significant legal challenges (for an in-depth discussion of these legal challenges with regard to Russia’s mapping activities, see here). Limited Coastal State Jurisdiction in the EEZ In its territorial…

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Clashes in the South China Sea: Escalation at Second Thomas Shoal

Over recent months, the frequency and seriousness of interactions between PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia forces, and Philippines Coast Guard and Armed Forces units in the vicinity of Second Thomas Shoal has escalated significantly. 17 June 2024 saw an incident involving China Coast Guard (CCG) small craft blocking in and surrounding Philippine Coast Guard…

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Japan Expands Its Whale Hunt to Include Fin Whales and Violates Its Duty to Cooperate

On June 11, Japan expanded its whale hunt to include 59 fin whales. Yet, Japan did not communicate and consult with the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and any of the other range States of the fin whale or assessed the potential impacts of hunting a shared resource. As a result, Japan has breached its duty to cooperate and…

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The ITLOS Advisory Opinion: Human Rights as a Withered Branch of International Law?

On 21 May 2024, at the request of the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS or Tribunal) delivered its long-awaited advisory opinion. While some scholars have welcomed the advisory opinion for its ‘contextual and systemic approach to interpretation’ [cf. Paine],…

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Deep seabed mining: A general policy at the International Seabed Authority?

Comprising 168 member States, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is responsible for all seabed mineral exploration and future exploitation activities on the international seabed (‘the Area’). Negotiations on the rules, regulations and procedures for exploitation activities are currently ongoing at the ISA. Before any exploitation activities can commence, UNCLOS requires its member…

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