Washington International Law Journal


Craig J. Capon


The threat of oil pollution in the world's busiest waterway, the Malacca Strait, and the legal complications that surround it continues to be a controversial issue despite international law reforms. Recent accidents have demonstrated that current measures to prevent pollution are inadequate and that traditional methods of enforcement are ineffective. Unfortunately, there is a tension between international law of the sea provisions governing pollution control in the Malacca Strait, and the desires of bordering coastal States to regulate vessels trafficking the Strait so that accident risk is minimized. Moreover, there is tension between UNCLOS provisions prohibiting the assessment of fees to use international straits, such as the Malacca Strait, and coastal State desires to raise funds to pay for preventive pollution control mechanisms. This Comment argues in favor of a broad interpretation of UNCLOS provisions in order to allow effective Vessel Traffic Services enforcement and financing which could help reduce the risk of collisions.

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