MARITIME SECURITY: International Law and Policy Perspectives from Australia and New Zealand. Edited by Natalie Klein, Associate Professor, Macquarie Law School, Joanna Mossop, Senior Lecturer in Law, Victoria University of Wellington, and Donald R Rothwell, Professor of International Law, ANU College of Law, Australian National University. Routledge, London (2010) xxiv and 259 pp, plus 12 pp Bibliography and 5 pp Index. Hardback £80.
The main legal issues of maritime security which this book examines include global, regional, bilateral and domestic law arrangements. The policy dimensions cover the informal arrangements and agreements relating to maritime security threats. Australia and New Zealand share many common global maritime security concerns due to the fact that both countries depend heavily on foreign trade and international shipping. Nonetheless, they have their distinctive concerns in maritime security.
The law of the sea remains of fundamental importance in regulating the conduct of Australia and New Zealand in the maritime zones. The most significant development in maritime security in Australia is the submission to the Commission on the limits of the Continental Shelf which will form the basis for the eventual assertion of an outer continental shelf claim under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea 1982, Art 76. Contemporary developments of maritime security in Australia include the Australian maritime identification system following the MV Tampa incident, compulsory pilotage in the Torres Strait, Japanese whaling in Australian waters, and the Commonwealth’s structure for maritime security of Australia. Rothwell and Moore find that Australia will always need to confront significant maritime challenges given its vast maritime territory and must ensure that its legal, policy and governance arrangements are always capable of responding to those evolving challenges.
While Australia and New Zealand actively participate in international law in relation to maritime security including the Antarctic Treaty, the US after 9–11 sought to exert its influences in a wide range of intergovernmental organization such as the IMO, ILO and the UN Security Council. Scott’s view is that Australia and New Zealand in many ways have similar concerns to those of the USA. But their policy priorities in respect of maritime security may differ from those of the US. They will need to continue to assess the national situation on its own terms, aiming for rational management of threats within acceptable boundaries. There is no authority in the Act of State doctrine for coercive operation outside of New Zealand or Australia. With respect to naval constabulary operations, the common law should follow the example of the law of naval warfare and accord significant weight to enforcement agreements and UN Security Council resolutions. Moore comments that it could then do much to support New Zealand’s and Australia’s efforts to support international law and maritime security generally.
The measures for protecting submarine cables in Australia potentially restrict some aspects of freedom of navigation and raise questions as to whether they are consistent with international laws. Kaye suggests that limiting restrictions in the Exclusive Economic Zone to fishing-related activities, drilling and exploitation of the seabed and environmental matters would ensure that Australia complies with its international obligations. Though there are different initiatives in enhancing the capability of maritime surveillance and enforcement, and information sharing and data availability in New Zealand, the ad hoc approach to Oceans Policy and strategy will limit further progress in maritime security. Mossop opines that it is questionable whether maritime security responses in New Zealand can ever be more than fragmented without a comprehensive view of Oceans Policy.
Assistant Professor, Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies,
Hong Kong Polytechnic University.