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Maritime law experts gather at UCLan

08 October 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Lancashire Law School conference addresses co-operation in semi-enclosed seas

International experts in maritime law have gathered at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to come up with methods of best practice to promote co-operation in semi-enclosed seas.

A semi-enclosed sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention), is a sea “surrounded by two or more states and connected to another sea or the ocean by a narrow outlet or consisting entirely or primarily of the territorial seas and exclusive economic zones of two or more coastal states.” Seas such as the East China Sea and the South China Sea in Asia and the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea in Europe are semi-enclosed seas.

Countries connected to semi-enclosed seas are requested by Article 123 of LOS Convention* to co-operate in areas including conservation, exploration and exploitation, the protection of the maritime environment, programs of scientific research and maritime security.

The Lancashire Law School at UCLan teamed up with the National Collaborative Centre for South China Sea Studies of Nanjing University, China, to bring together distinguished scholars from Asia and Europe and discuss how and to what extent Article 123 has been implemented in state practice both in East Asia and Europe, how we can learn from existing experiences either in Asia or Europe and what can be done to promote maritime cooperation in semi-enclosed seas.

“This event is timely held with a significant impact upon the ways and means of maritime cooperation for littoral states adjacent to the semi-enclosed seas particularly where there are high tensions arising from territorial and maritime disputes”

Keyuan Zou, Harris Professor of International Law at UCLan, commented: “This event is timely held with a significant impact upon the ways and means of maritime cooperation for littoral states adjacent to the semi-enclosed seas particularly where there are high tensions arising from territorial and maritime disputes such as in the South China Sea. Academic discussions can no doubt provide insights for decision-makers and law-makers of the countries concerned.”

The UCLan conference looked at an international legal framework for semi-enclosed seas co-operation and the new challenges countries face, the management of marine living resources and non-living resources, marine environmental protection and how to handle non-traditional security issues. It is the second international workshop organised by the Lancashire Law School on maritime law and co-operation.

Professor Zou has also recently visited South Korea where he attended the event hosted by the Foundation for the Development of International Law in Asia and spoke on the management of confronting territorial and maritime issues in Asia. On the occasion, he discussed research projects concerning the semi-enclosed seas cooperation with the Korean and Asian counterparts and sought opportunities to organise a third international workshop as such in the near future.