HAMBURG, 28 February. Following an agreement between the Parties arrived at on 20 February 1998, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Guinea have submitted the merits (the substance) of their dispute to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The dispute concerns the interpretation and application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Parties have raised important questions covering a wide range of issues relating to activities in the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone, which coastal States may adopt. The issues raised include:
· Bunkering of vessels at sea - The case arises from the arrest and continued detention of an oil tanker, which had been engaged in providing fishing vessels with gasoil (bunkering) off the coast of Guinea. Guinea has prosecuted the Master of the tanker, the M/V "SAIGA", for carrying out these activities, which it alleges are offences under its custom laws. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, however, claims that the bunkering of the vessels is within the exercise ofthe freedom of navigation in the exclusive economic zone. The question therefore arises as to the extent to which a coastal State may regulate or control bunkering in its exclusive economic zone.