Port State Control of Civilian Search and Rescue Vessels before the European Court of Justice: The Sea Watch Cases

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


On 1 August 2022, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rendered its preliminary ruling in the joined cases C-14/21 and C-15/21, which concerned the detention of two German-flagged civilian rescue vessels operated by the German non-governmental organisation Sea Watch. The detention was executed by Italian port authorities following port State inspections carried out pursuant to Directive 2009/16 on Port State Control (PSC Directive). The ECJ's judgment is the first to comprehensively address and clarify the legal framework governing the European Union's system of port State control. The Court provided several clarifications concerning the interpretation of the PSC Directive as well as relevant rules of the international law of the sea. Overall, these clarifications may be considered positive for the rule of law in the context of port State inspections of civilian search and rescue vessels.

ZeitschriftInternational Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Seiten (von - bis)179-190
Anzahl der Seiten12
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 2024

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