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Youna Lyons

The 2009 Montara offshore oil spill and its consequences were anything but expected. Originating from an offshore well in the Timor Sea 140 nautical miles off the coast of Australia and 50 nautical miles from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundary with Indonesia, it is a quintessential example of transboundary pollution from offshore activities and is still the subject of unresolved and heated debates between Australia and Indonesia. This chapter first briefly examines the circumstances of the Montara blowout and spill, the extent of its transboundary effects and the conclusions from the investigations carried out by Australia. The remainder of the chapter reviews the administrative and legal mechanisms and steps taken by the government of Australia and PTT Exploration and Production Australasia (PTTEP-AA), the oil operator, and their compliance with international law. It distinguishes three successive phases: firstly, the oil spill preparedness; secondly, the oil spill response; and thirdly, the mechanisms for compensation. For each phase, the factual, administrative and legal circumstances of the Montara spill are contrasted with the applicable international legal framework.

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Youna Lyons, Luu Quang Hung and Pavel Tkalich

Identification of those insular coral reef formations that qualify as land areas capable of a sovereignty claim and of generating maritime zones is a critical element of the legal discussion relating to the maritime disputes in the South China Sea. This chapter discusses the determination made by the Arbitral Tribunal. First, the chapter presents the main elements of the Arbitral Tribunal’s reasoning and findings. Second, these findings and the approach of the Arbitral Tribunal are compared with the decision rendered by the International Court of Justice in Nicaragua v Colombia. The third section investigates what it means for a reef to qualify as land territory and which ‘high tide’ should be considered. The fourth section discusses the issue of permanence above the sea of high-tide features. Finally the fifth section proposes an application of the South China Sea Arbitration Final Award to the many other insular geographic formations in the South China Sea, the status of which has not been determined by the Arbitral Tribunal.