Tuesday, April 15, 2014
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) issued its decision today in the case of the M/V Virginia G, an oil tanker flying the flag of Panama, which was arrested by officials from Guinea-Bissau because the vessel was refueling in Guinea-Bissau's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without proper authorization.
The ITLOS Tribunal first established its jurisdiction over the matter by rejecting Guinea-Bissau's argument that the M/V Virgina G lacked a genuine connection to Panama.
On the merits, the Tribunal held that a coastal state such as Guinea-Bissau has a right under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to regulate activities in its EEZ including bunkering and that the M/V Virginia G had not fully complied with Guinea-Bissau's regulations. However, the Tribunal further found that Guinea-Bissau's arrest and confiscation of the M/V Virginia G were not necessary to sanction the noncompliance or to deter others from committing the same errors. Finally, the Tribunal found that Guinea-Bissau also violated UNCLOS by failing to promptly notify Panama of the arrest. Accordingly, the Tribunal ordered Guinea-Bissau to pay reparations to Panama.
For more information about this case, visit the ITLOS website.