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Investigation, Detention and Release of Foreign Vessels under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 and Other International Agreements

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea contains (or makes reference to) many provisions about the investigation, detention and release of vessels. The detention and failure to release a vessel may lead to a dispute which could come before an international court or tribunal, in which case the release of the vessel on bail could be sought as an interim measure of protection (Art. 290). The special procedure for release contained in Article 292 is available only when it can be shown that the detaining state has not complied with the specific provisions of the Convention for the prompt release of the vessel and its crew on bail or upon the posting of a reasonable bond or similar financial security. These provisions are contained, directly or indirectly, in: Article 73, concerning the release on bail of fishing vessels; Article 220(7), concerning the release on bail in cases of suspected violations of MARPOL; Article 226(1)(b), concerning the release on bail of vessels suspected of having violated prohibitions of dumping or discharges or regulations of coastal states; Article 226(1)(c), concerning vessels which may present a threat to the environment. In cases other than the above, the special procedure in Article 292 is not available. Instead, a legal dispute may exist which could be referred to a court or tribunal in accordance with the terms of the Convention.


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