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The Grand Prince Case (Belize v. France)

Belize, France
Type of court
International court
Apr 20, 2001
Court name
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
Seat of court
Rao Chandrasekhara
Rangel Marotta
Engo Bamela
Reference number
List of cases No. 8
Fisheries, Legal questions, Sea
Legal proceedings/administrative proceedings Fishing vessel Marine area Marine fisheries International agreement-text Maritime zone Fishing area
The Grand Prince was a fishing vessel. At the time of its arrest on 26 December 2000, it was flying the flag of Belize. The vessel had sailed from Durban, South Africa, early in December 2000 in order to fish for Patagonian toothfish and lobster in the international waters of the Southern Ocean. On 26 December 2000, the Grand Prince was boarded by the crew of a French surveillance frigate in the exclusive economic zone of the Kerguelen Islands in the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. The Grand Prince was escorted to Port-des-Galets, Réunion. A procès-verbal of violation was drawn up on 26 December 2000 against the Master of the Grand Prince for having: (a) fished without authorization in the exclusive economic zone of the Kerguelen Islands under French jurisdiction; (b) failed to announce his entry into the exclusive economic zone of the Kerguelen Islands and to declare some twenty tonnes of fish carried aboard. Approximately 18 tonnes of toothfish were found on board. The Commander of the frigate recorded the apprehension of the Grand Prince, the fishing gear, the electronic and electric fishing gear, the navigation and communication equipment, the ship’s papers, and the fish catch. In January 2001, the court of first instance (tribunal d’instance) at Saint-Paul confirmed the arrest of the Grand Prince and declared that its release would be subject to the payment of a bond in the amount of 11,400,000 FF in cash. The Applicant contended, inter alia, that the vessel did not catch any fish inside the Kerguelen exclusive economic zone and that the bond fixed by the court of first instance at Saint-Paul was not a "reasonable bond or other security" within the meaning of article 73, paragraph 2, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in terms of its amount, form or nature; and that the rejection on 22 February 2001 by the court of first instance at Saint-Paul of the application for the release of the vessel upon presentation of a bank guarantee of 11,400,000 FF was in violation of the provisions of article 73, paragraph 2, of the Convention. For these reasons, the Applicant requested the Tribunal to determine that France failed to comply with article 73 paragraph 2, of the Convention and that France should promptly release the vessel upon the posting of a bond or other security to be determined by the Tribunal. France contended that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the Application. The Tribunal emphasized that it had to examine whether it had jurisdiction to entertain the Application. More specifically, it had to satisfy itself that the Application was "made on behalf of the flag State of the vessel", as required by article 292, paragraph 2, of the Convention. According to the provisional patent of navigation issued by the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize on 16 October 2000, the owners of the vessel were the Paik Commercial Corporation of 35A Regent Street, Belize City. According to the vessel’s certificate of class dated 23 June 1999, the owners of the vessel were NOYCAN B.L. -MOANA- VIGO, Spain. On the basis of an overall assessment of the material placed before it, the Tribunal concluded that the documentary evidence submitted by the Applicant failed to establish that Belize was the flag State of the vessel when the Application was made. Accordingly, the Tribunal found that it had no jurisdiction under article 292 of the Convention to hear the Application. In these circumstances, the Tribunal was not in a position to deal with the submissions of the parties on the merits of the Application.
Full text



United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Treaty | Multilateral | Montego Bay |

Keyword: Alien species, Inspection, Legal proceedings/administrative proceedings, Management/conservation, Deep sea bed, Islands, Bycatch, Offences/penalties, Enforcement/compliance, Risk assessment/management, Fishing licence fee, Authorization/permit, Fishery management and conservation, Total allowable catch, Marine fisheries, Liability/compensation, Pollution control, Future generations, Marine pollution, Dispute settlement, Monitoring, Stock enhancement/repopulation, Maritime zone, Policy/planning, Marine pollution (dumping at sea), Size, Contract/agreement, Access right, Education, Data collection/reporting, Research, EIA, International organization, Long-range air pollution, Marine mammals, Mining, Business/industry/corporations, High seas, Sovereignty, Marine pollution (land-based sources), Migratory species, Vessel ownership, Court/tribunal, Marine resources management, Jurisdictional competence, Fishing licence, Harbour, Early warning system/emergency intervention system, Fishing gear/fishing method, Navigation, Registration, Continental shelf, Marine pollution (ship-based sources), Exploration, Seasons, International relations/cooperation, Technology transfer, EEZ-Exclusive Economic Zone, Sustainable use

Source: IUCN (ID: TRE-000753)