Centre for International Law

CIL Events & Activities on Submarine Cables

Workshop on Submarine Cables in the Sargasso Sea – Legal and Environmental Issues Beyond National Jurisdiction

On 23 October 2014, as part of CIL’s continuing collaboration with the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), CIL, ICPC, George Washington University Law School and the Sargasso Sea Commission, co-sponsored a workshop titled ‘Submarine Cables in the Sargasso Sea – Legal and Environmental Issues Beyond National Jurisdiction’. CIL Global Associate Tara Davenport represented CIL and served as rapporteur at the Workshop. The objective of the Workshop was to start a dialogue between the submarine cable industry and the newly established Sargasso Sea Commission regarding best environmental practices for the laying and repair of cables in the Sargasso Sea. The Sargasso Sea is located in the North Atlantic Ocean beyond the national jurisdiction of any State and is considered an Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Area. The Workshop brought together government representatives, representatives from the cable industry, academics, scientists and lawyers to discuss the impact that cable operations may have on the marine environment, the ecological sensitivity of the Sargasso Sea and whether any best practices should be adopted to minimise the impact, if any, of cable operations in the Sargasso Sea. This was the first ever Workshop to address the interaction between submarine cables and the environment in areas beyond national jurisdiction and participants engaged in a robust discussion on a variety of important issues. The organisers issued a Report of the Proceedings, which reflects the main issues that were raised during the Workshop as well as areas for further cooperation between the cable industry and the Sargasso Sea Commission.

For more information about the Workshop, link to presentations and the Workshop Report, click here.

2014 CSCAP Memorandum on Submarine Cables

The Centre for International Law (CIL) is pleased to announce the publication by the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) of CSCAP Memorandum No. 24 on the Safety and Security of Vital Undersea Communications Infrastructure. CSCAP is a non-governmental (second track) process for dialogue on security issues in the Asia Pacific. CSCAP Memorandum No. 24 is the result of the work of a CSCAP Study Group on Maritime Security, which was co-chaired by CSCAP Singapore, CSCAP Indonesia and CSCAP New Zealand. The Memorandum was drafted after a meeting of the CSCAP Study Group on Maritime Security which was held in Jakarta on 18 February 2014 and subsequently approved by all of the national CSCAP committees. The CSCAP Study Group Meeting in Jakarta was preceded by a CSCAP Expert’s Group Meeting on the Security of Vital Communications Infrastructure on 17 February 2014. CIL Director Robert Beckman, CIL Research Associate Monique Page and the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) Legal Advisor Douglas Burnett worked closely with colleagues from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) who spearheaded the work for CSCAP Singapore. Robert Beckman, Douglas Burnett and Ian Douglas (ICPC) made presentations at the CSCAP Experts Group Meeting and attended the CSCAP Study Group Meeting. For a copy of the Memorandum, click here.

2011 Workshop on Submarine Cables and Law of the Sea

On 14-15 April 2011, CIL and the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) jointly organised a Workshop on the Protection of Submarine Cables. The objectives of the Workshop were to increase awareness among Governments in the region about the problems in the protection of fibre optic submarine cables (submarine cables) and to discuss concrete measures that the cable industry, governments and international organizations can take to protect submarine cables.

For more information about the 2011 Workshop, including the Co-Chair’s provisional report and PowerPoint presentations, click here.

2009 Workshop on Submarine Cables and Law of the Sea

On 14-15 December 2009, CIL organised and hosted a Workshop on Submarine Cables and the Law of the Sea in close cooperation with the International Cables Protection Committee (ICPC). The workshop brought together experts from the cable industry, experts on the law of the sea and government representatives from the region to examine the practice of industry and governments on submarine cables in light of the legal regime governing submarine cables that is set out in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Topics discussed included:

  • Planning and Surveying Cable Routes
  • Permits for the Laying, Maintenance & Repair of Cables
  • Damage to Cables from Fishing and Indiscriminate Anchoring
  • Laws to Prevent the Damage or Destruction of Cables

For more information about the 2009 Workshop, including the Workshop report and PowerPoint presentations, click here.