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Analysis and Comment (11)

Australia’s maritime search and rescue zone covers a vast area. AMSA/AAP

The law of the sea and commercial ships in the search for MH370

The first ship to reach the area of Indian ocean being searched for the missing flight MH370 is the Norwegian commercial car carrier, the Höegh St Petersburg. At the request of the Australian Maritime…
What are Australia’s legal and moral responsibilities under the relevant conventions and the law of the sea to rescue and ‘turn back’ asylum seeker boats? AAP

Explainer: the law of the sea and asylum seekers

Prime minister Tony Abbott said on Monday he expects Jakarta to take responsibility for the asylum seekers that Australian authorities rescue in Indonesia’s search and rescue zone. He claims this is the…
Just how much bigger can they get? Chris Radburn/PA

Designing green ships, from sails to micro-bubbles

Maritime engineering is no exception in worldwide effort to save energy and protect the environment. In 2008 the International Maritime Organization, a UN agency, set up its Marine Environmental Protection…
What are the legal implications for proposals to ‘tow back’ and ‘push back’ asylum seeker boats by the Australian Navy? AAP/Scott Fisher

Explainer: the legality of turning or towing back asylum boats

The Coalition promises it will “turn back” asylum seeker boats in Australian waters where it is safe to do so if it wins the next election. With Australian border patrols said to be at “breaking point…
Yesterday’s fatalities highlight the importance of ensuring Australian authorities continue to respond to asylum seekers caught at sea. AAP/Sharon Tisdale

Stop the deaths: rescuing asylum seekers is an integrity issue

We received news yesterday of the latest fatal capsize of a boat carrying asylum seekers towards Australia – the 20th reported sinking event in four years. The two deaths yesterday brought the confirmed…
The Institute of Cetacean Research has accused the Sea Shepherd of ramming its vessels at sea. AAP/The Institute of Cetacean Research

Arrrrrrrrr the Sea Shepherds really pirates?

The US ninth circuit Court of Appeal has decided today that Sea Shepherd activists are pirates. The decision begins with colourful rhetoric about the appearance of pirates throughout fiction, but it addresses…
An Australian navy vessel escorts asylum seekers to Christmas Island-but what are our obligations to other vessels? AAP Image/Scott Fisher

Explainer: what are Australia’s duties to rescue at sea?

Australia, like all coastal states, is under an absolute obligation to undertake rescue at sea wherever and whenever necessary. It is not, however, immediately apparent that this is the case. A question…
Chinese paramilitary police prepare for a storm in the South China Sea. EPA/str

Toeing the U-shaped line in the South China Sea

The lines traversing the surface of the globe are legal fictions that determine the fates of nations. Nowhere is this truer than in the South China Sea. China’s infamous U-shaped line claims most of this…