Coastal State Jurisdiction over Ships in Peril and Shipwrecks
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International law-making in the field of coastal State jurisdiction over ships in peril and shipwrecks is of incremental nature. Various legal issues concerning the matter at stake have emerged at different stages over the last fifty years, and have been triggered by a number of maritime accidents, the 1967 Torrey Canyon incident marking the critical point in this respect. The current legal regime on coastal State jurisdiction over ships in peril and shipwrecks is determined by a combination of a number of different instruments adopted under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, in particular the 1969 Intervention Convention, the 1973 Intervention Protocol, the 1989 Salvage Convention, the 2003 Guidelines on Places of Refuge and the 2007 Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention. Moreover, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea serves as an underlying ‘constitutional’ framework. All these instruments intend to function within the same legal regime, providing coastal States with certain decision-making powers to combat risks posed by ships in peril and shipwrecks. However, much of the language used in the relevant provisions is vague and subject to varying interpretations. As a result, considerable ambiguity characterizes not only each of the key instruments in place, but also their relationship and the way the legal regime actually works. Of additional concern is the generality of application of certain rules, in particular, the question of opposability. Against this backdrop, the thesis seeks to explore and explain what are the rights and obligations of coastal States over foreign ships in peril and shipwrecks under international law, and how have these evolved since the 1967 Torrey Canyon disaster.
PublisherUiT The Arctic University of Norway
UiT Norges arktiske universitet
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