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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea: Some Comments on the M/V Saiga Case
Author:Roberts, Ken
Periodical:African Journal of International and Comparative Law
Geographic term:Guinea
Subjects:territorial waters
international courts
Law, Human Rights and Violence
international relations
Abstract:On 4 December 1997, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, an independent international judicial institution pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, handed down its first ever judgment. The case concerned an application by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the prompt release of a vessel and crew, detained by Guinean authorities. On 27 October 1997 the vessel M/V Saiga, an oil tanker flying the flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, entered the exclusive economic zone of Guinea, and supplied gas oil to three fishing vessels. The next day the M/V Saiga was arrested by Guinean Customs patrol boats. On 13 November 1997 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines brought an application before the Tribunal concerning the arrest of the Saiga. The application was based on article 292 of the Convention, while Guinea argued that article 292 was not applicable. The Tribunal unanimously decided that it had jurisdiction under article 292, but it was deeply split on the admissibility of the application, with the majority deciding in favour of admissibility. The author critiques this decision and argues that the applicant should have been held to have failed on the merits of this application and that article 292 proceedings should not have been invoked because the arrest of the Saiga was likely for a violation of Guinean customs legislation. Notes, ref.