China and International Environmental Liability

China and International Environmental Liability

Legal Remedies for Transboundary Pollution

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Edited by Michael Faure and Song Ying

This book considers the ways in which transboundary environmental pollution can be remedied through a variety of legal instruments. Particular attention is paid to the pollution of the Songhua river in China, but legal remedies to transboundary pollution are also discussed in a broader context.

Chapter 4: Transboundary Vessel-Source Marine Pollution – International Legal Framework and its Application to China

Wang Hui

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, asian law, environmental law


Wang Hui 1 INTRODUCTION Two-thirds of the earth’s surface consists of water and the oceans form the very foundation of life itself. Nowadays, 95 per cent of the world’s trade by weight is carried by sea. In view of the crucial importance of the oceans to life, the pollution of the marine environment and its effects require serious attention. Marine pollution may come from various sources. The major source is acknowledged to be from land-based sources, such as coastal activities. Another main source is marine shipping or vessel-related activities, such as tankers carrying oil or other chemicals by sea and other vessels carrying hazardous and noxious cargoes. Ocean shipping is nowadays frequently carried out between different states.1 Consequently, when pollution comes from shipping-related activities or vessel-related sources, it often occurs that the pollution incident may be generated from inside one country or on the high seas where no country may claim jurisdiction, but it can inflict adverse effects in the territory or jurisdiction of another state.2 Hence, marine pollution caused by vessel-based activities is often transboundary in nature. Moreover, the common practice today is that the ship is registered in one country, while the crew is multinational, the ship is managed by an operating company registered in another country, and the beneficial owner is in yet another country.3 When pollution occurs in such a situation, the Molenaar (1998, p. 19). For a definition of ‘transboundary pollution damage’, see Xue (2003, p. 3). 3 Kiehne...

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