G. Samiotis, D. Grekos, P. Saviolakis
Mar 12, 2021
Environmental Policy and Law
The immunity accorded to military ships and government ships used for non-commercial service in the high seas does not, in many cases, comply with the environmental protection measures set by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both coastal and flag States attempt to balance their differing interests through UNCLOS; coastal States support the environmental protection of the high seas adjacent to their maritime zones while the flag States claim the rights of immunity and freedom of navigation. The jurisdictional immunity in the high seas accorded to government ships used only for non-commercial service will continue to raise inter-State disputes regarding the nature of permissible services and environmental protection. States should engage in a dialogue on these issues, in which they could discuss the concept of non-commercial service in the high seas, and bring into focus the potentially serious socio-economic and environmental consequences, such as accidental marine pollution caused by these ships.