Ruling the Oceans: UNCLOS at 30

On Tuesday 4th December 2012 a group of maritime experts met at HQS Wellington to attend a Greenwich Forum Symposium which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.

The symposium debated the effects of the Convention over the past thirty years from the viewpoint of practitioners of sea business. It assessed the impact of the adoption of the Convention as a comprehensive re-statement of the law of the sea and its aftermath and implications for particular UK interests, principally those concerned with traffic by sea, exploitation of resources, safeguarding and enforcement. Aftermath included such developments as new environmental rules and decommissioning standards for oil rigs, submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement and the granting of authorisations for prospecting by the International Seabed Authority.

The Symposium programme included an excellent list of high quality guest presenters: Judge David Anderson CMG; Professor Alan Boyle of the University of Edinburgh; Dr Rosalie Balkin of IMO; Commodore Steven Jermy of the Navy Campaign; Professor Jon Wonham; Michael Lodge of the International Seabed Authority; Joshua Brien of the Commonwealth Secretariat; Stefan Asmundsson of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission; Commodore Neil Brown of the Royal Navy; Liam McAleese of Marine Planning Consultants and Professor Steven Haines of the University of Greenwich. The meeting was introduced by the Greenwich Forum President, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE.

Established in 1973, the aim of the Greenwich Forum is to promote public awareness of Britain’s dependence on the sea by encouragement of debate, discussion and education. To view more information about the Greenwich Forum members and its activities please visit their website:

A synopsis of the discussion that took place at the symposium will be available soon on the Greenwich Forum website.

Suzanne Louail


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