New PhD at JCLOS!

Jan Jakub Solski successfully defended his thesis "Russian Coastal State Jurisdiction over Commercial Vessels Navigating the Northern Sea Route", on Tuesday 23 April 2019, with very engaging discussions between him and his opponents, Professor Alla Podznakova and Professor Ted McDorman!

Russian coastal State jurisdiction over commercial vessels navigating the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

Stephenson, S.R., Brigham, L.W., Smith, L.C. (2014). Marine accessibility along Russia’s Northern Sea Route. Polar Geography 37: 111-133.

The Arctic has been in the international spotlight for a little more than a decade. Melting sea ice, technological developments and the interests of States all stimulate human activity in the Arctic, including shipping. The opening of new shipping lanes in this region will, eventually, diversity the patterns of global commercial trade.

The Northern Sea Route (NSR), located exclusively in Russian maritime zones in the Arctic, presents the highest potential for trans-Arctic shipping. Foreign navigation through the NSR is subject to a special legal regime, established unilaterally by Russia as coastal State. Russian domestic legislation stipulates that the navigation on the NSR – historically formed national transport line of communication of the Russian Federation – shall be carried out in accordance with international law.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) sets out relevant rules of international law, including those relating to coastal State jurisdiction as well as navigational rights and freedoms of other States. Many of the Russian legal requirements, affecting access to and navigation on the NSR, exceed the extent of coastal State jurisdiction under general law of the sea. UNCLOS, however, includes one important lex specialis – Article 234. This provision, a product of essentially private negotiations held in the 1970s among Canada, the USA, and the USSR, leaves exceptionally wide latitude to a coastal State within ice-covered areas. Also, the adoption of the Polar Code in 2015, which provides a multilateral framework for regulating shipping in Polar waters, raises further questions of compatibility of the different legal regimes in legal or practical terms.

Jan’s thesis analyzes the geographical scope and the substantive extent of Russia’s coastal State jurisdiction to prescribe and enforce rules on passing ships. It provides a careful analysis of Russia’s relevant historic and current practice, as well the arguments used in Russian academic literature or the political setting. Besides, the thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of the relevant rules and principles of the law of the sea, including Article 234, the Polar Code and examples of relevant State practice. It critically discusses the legality of specific regulatory measures as applied by Russia on the NSR, such as the permit scheme, icebreaker assistance, fees, ship reporting, and pilotage.

Page administrator: Christin Skjervold
Last updated: 03.05.2019 13:05