Deep Sea Mining Summit 2015

Dr Suzette V. Suarez

Hamburg, 9 March 2015. Together with my colleague, Ted Maguin (Solicitor, England & Wales), Partner at Lebuhn & Puchta, I attended and gave a presentation at the Deep Sea Mining Summit 2015 from 9 to 10 February 2015 in Aberdeen, Scotland. (DSM Summit) The DSM Summit 2015 is the third annual DSM Summit. The first two DSM Summits were held in London in 2013 and 2014.

The key topics at the DSM Summit 2015 were the following:

  • The economic landscape and drivers for growth in deep sea mining;
  • Achieving sustainable seabed mining projects in harmony with nature;
  • The status of prospecting and exploration, the latest methods and results;
  • Regional opportunities to harvest Seafloor Massive Sulphides and Manganese Nodules;
  • Working with nations through a regulatory framework, the opportunities and risks; and
  • Technological developments associated with commercialising Deep sea mining.

There were fifteen presentations altogether from the deep sea mining industry, research institutes, offshore sector, classification society, scientists, and NGOs.

Mr Maguin, who specializes in maritime law and has a considerable experience providing legal advice to the offshore renewable energy industry, made a presentation entitled: KEY LEGAL SHIPPING RISKS IN A DSM PROJECT: NAUTILUS MINERALS AND THE ORDERING OF ITS MINING SUPPORT VESSEL. In his presentation, Mr Maguin underscored the importance of identifying and securing in good time the availability of specialised assets. He also referred to the importance of handling design risk, delay, unforeseen costs and navigational risks. Finally, he provided insights concerning the legal implications of owning vs. chartering a specialised vessel.

My presentation was entitled: WILL THE ITLOS PROMPT RELEASE PROCEDURE BE AVAILABLE TO DETAINED DEEP SEA MINING VESSELS? Of central importance to deep sea mining operations are the mining support and transport vessels. The arrest of these vessels by coastal States for pollution to the marine environment from activities arising from seabed mining is sanctioned under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In order to safeguard the economic viability of deep-sea mining projects, operators should at the earliest stages identify the remedies available to detained and arrested vessels. One of the remedies is the prompt release procedure at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

You can download my presentation here: SeabedMining2015Prompt_release_procedureITLOS

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