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Enforcement Failures and Remedies: Review on State Jurisdiction over Ships at Sea

Jiancuo Qi & Pengfei Zhang

JEAIL Volume 14, Number 1 (2021), 7-34


The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea admitted legislation and enforcement jurisdiction carried out by the flag state. However, the emergence of substandard ships and the growing number of ship accidents at sea indicate that flag state jurisdiction is far from effective. Four aspects of these failures are examined in this paper. Confronted with the failure of flag state jurisdiction, port states have devised a subsidiary remedy to ensure their national interests and restore the effectiveness of flag state jurisdiction. A problem hereunder arises because non-explicit permission was given to port states to prosecute substandard ships. Thus, this paper further analyses four aspects of port state jurisdiction. The authors aim to analyse the failures and remedies associated with state jurisdiction over ships. It reviews the scope and deficiency of state jurisdiction in combatting substandard ships and illicit activities at sea. This paper also addresses the importance of port state control, regional memorandums of understanding and international conventions.

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