Photo: File photo of one the three detained vessels; Image Courtesy: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

ITLOS Names 3 Arbitrators in Russia-Ukraine Naval Dispute

Three arbitrators have been appointed in the arbitral proceedings between Russia and Ukraine concerning the detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels and twenty-four sailors, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) said. 

Specifically, Donald McRae from Canada, Rüdiger Wolfrum from Germany and Gudmundur Eiriksson from Iceland have been appointed on July 10 as arbitrators in the arbitration proceedings. McRae was also appointed as president of the same arbitral tribunal.

In April this year, Ukraine submitted an appeal to ITLOS requesting Russia’s release of the arrested vessels and crew members.

As World Maritime News earlier reported, the ships were seized by Russian authorities when attempting to enter the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in November 2018. They were carrying out a planned transition from the port of Odessa to the port of Mariupol.

After Ukraine commenced proceedings against Russia and in accordance with article 3, subparagraph (b), of Annex VII to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the notification included the appointment of Christopher Greenwood from the UK as a member of the arbitral tribunal. Accordingly, Russia subsequently nominated Vladimir Vladimirovich Golitsyn as a member of the tribunal.

In June this year, Ukraine informed the President of ITLOS, Judge Jin-Hyun Paik, that no agreement had been reached between the parties on the appointment of the three remaining members of the arbitral tribunal and requested President Paik to appoint them and to designate as president one of the three members appointed.

As a result, Paik made the three appointments in consultation with the parties.

Related: Int’l Tribunal: Russia Ordered to Free Ukrainian Navy Vessels, Sailors