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The Tribunal and the Prompt Release of Vessels

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

The paper examines the way in which the Tribunal has so far dealt with applications for the prompt release of arrested vessels and crews under Article 292 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982. It begins by setting out the prerequisites for the Tribunal's jurisdiction to deal with such applications. These include the requirement that an application must be submitted by or on behalf of the flag State of the vessel, the need for the Tribunal to determine that the application is admissible and that the allegation of non-compliance with a provision of the Convention is "well founded." The paper then examines the nature and content of the Order of the Tribunal, including the issue of the reasonable bond or other financial security to be set for the release of the ship or its crew. A core problem considered is the relationship of the prompt release application to the proceedings "on the merits" before other courts or tribunals. In particular, consideration is given to possible problems that may arise where an application is presented after proceedings in the domestic courts have been completed. The paper concludes by noting with approval the flexible and evolutionary approach by which the Tribunal has so far applied this innovative provision of the Convention.

Affiliations: 1: International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea


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