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Request for provisional measures: Kingdom of Netherlands v. Russian Federation (Arctic Sunrise)

The Netherlands submitted a request for the prescription of provisional measures in a dispute with Russia concerning detention of the Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship (Arctic Sunrise) and her crew. On 19 September 2013, in order to protest against oil drilling, the ship approached a platform at Prirazlomnaya (Russian EEZ) and, at least according to some earlier news, some of the activists on board attempted to board the platform, allegedly endangering safety. (Well, there are many reports/news on what has been going on there. In particular, allegations of piracy by the activities were considered by criminal authorities in Russia; administrative sanctions were imposed on the captain for violations of the EEZ regime. The vessel and everyone on board were detained by the Russian authorities and escorted til Murmansk: The ship, the captain and those who were on-board, both Russian and foreign nationals, were arrested. The release against the bail has so far been rejected by Russia.

The Netherlands relies in particular on Article 290 UNCLOS and requests that Russia immediately allows to resupply the vessel, releases it, and stops the proceedings and any other enforcement actions vis-a-vis the vessel and the captain. The dispute between the two States will be resolved by the arbitral procedure, at least the Netherlands submitted the dispute to the arbitration according to Annex XII UNCLOS.

Most, if not all, submissions to ITLOS under Article 290 relate to prompt releases in the fisheries/hot pursuit cases, so this submission is (finally) something new as it addresses the question of jurisdiction of a coastal State  in its EEZ in a different type of situation, and raises the question of the scope of such jurisdiction under the law of the sea.  (To be continued).

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