1. While endorsing the operative holdings of the Tribunal in the Judgment, I have considered it necessary to append this separate opinion to emphasize certain aspects, which I consider essential from the legal standpoint. I do not necessarily agree with all the reasons given by the Tribunal in support of its holdings. In particular, my disagreement concerns the reasons on which the Tribunal has based its Judgment in respect of two issues: registration of the Saiga and the exhaustion of local remedies.
2. The facts and the rival contentions of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Guinea on the question of registration of the Saiga are as stated in the Judgment. However, I do not agree with the inferences drawn from them by the Tribunal. The Saiga was registered provisionally on 12 March 1997 as a Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ship under section 36 of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1982 of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (hereinafter “the Merchant Shipping Act”). The Provisional Certificate of Registration, issued to the Saiga on 14 April 1997, stated: “This Certificate expires on 12 September 1997”. The Registry Book of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines showed that the provisional registration of the Saiga was recorded on 26 March 1997 and that it was valid till 12 September 1997. The Saiga was arrested by the Guinean officers on 28 October 1997. It was issued a Permanent Certificate of Registration on 28 November 1997.
3. Guinea contended that the claims of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in this case were inadmissible on a number of grounds, the main ground being that, at the relevant time, i.e., when the Saiga was arrested on 28 October 1997, the Saiga was not registered as a Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ship and that, consequently, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was not competent to present its claims. This raises the question whether Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was the flag State in relation to the Saiga at the relevant time.