ITLOST? The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea Sounds the Charge to Expand Coastal State Jurisdiction

Clayton Vignocchi | Note

Amid bunkering fishing vessels authorized to operate in Guinea-Bissau’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the M/V Virginia G, a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker, was arrested for “the repeated practice of fishing related activities in the form of [the] unauthorized sale of fuel to ships fishing in [Guinea-Bissau’s] EEZ.” The VIRGINIA G was contracted by Empresa Balmar Pesquerias de Atlantico (Balmar) on August 7, 2009, to provide gas oil to Mauritania-flagged fishing vessels operating in Guinea-Bissau’s EEZ. Balmar’s agent in Guinea-Bissau, on behalf of the Mauritania-flagged fishing vessels and in accordance with state law, requested and subsequently received authorization from the National Fisheries Inspection and Control Service (Serviço Nacional de Fiscalização e Controlo das Actividades de Pesca) (FISCAP) for those vessels to receive fuel from the VIRGINIA G. After refueling two of the contracted fishing vessels, the VIRGINIA G, while in route to a third contracted vessel and nearly sixty miles off the coast, was approached by speedboats and boarded by agents of Guinea-Bissau.