Conakry, Guinea – (African Boulevard News) – The United Nations is set to rule on a maritime dispute between the Marshall Islands and Equatorial Guinea. The Pacific Ocean country alleges that Malabo’s seizure of a BP-chartered ship, bearing its flag, violated the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The case has been brought before the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which is expected to issue a verdict soon.
According to reports, the dispute arose when Equatorial Guinea’s navy seized the cargo vessel ‘Ocean Princess’ in November 2022. The ship had been chartered by BP to carry crude oil from Nigeria to China, but was stopped by Equatorial Guinea’s authorities while passing through its territorial waters. The ship was detained for several months, during which time BP incurred significant losses.
The Marshall Islands, who register the ship, claim that Equatorial Guinea has violated international law. They argue that the ship was unlawfully seized, and that Equatorial Guinea has no right to detain ships traveling through its waters. Equatorial Guinea, for its part, has argued that it was justified in seizing the ship as it was carrying Nigerian crude oil. The country is currently involved in a territorial dispute with Nigeria over ownership of the region where the oil was extracted.
Observers say the maritime dispute highlights broader tensions over oil exploration rights in the West African region. Countries like Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria are seeking to assert their rights over territories they believe are rich in oil and gas resources. However, this has led to disputes with other countries who also claim ownership over the same resources.
According to some experts, the UN tribunal’s ruling in the case could set important precedents for the future of maritime law. If the tribunal rules that Equatorial Guinea acted illegally in seizing the ‘Ocean Princess’, it could limit the country’s ability to enforce its claims to oil resources in the region. On the other hand, if the tribunal finds in favor of Equatorial Guinea, it may embolden other countries to take similar actions against foreign-owned ships in their waters.
In conclusion, the UN’s verdict in the maritime dispute between the Marshall Islands and Equatorial Guinea is eagerly awaited. The case highlights the complex legal and political issues surrounding the exploitation of oil resources in the West African region. Whatever the outcome, the ruling will have important implications for the future of maritime law and the rights of countries to assert control over their territorial waters.