Klaas Willaert

All eyes on deep sea mining: monitoring and inspection of activities in the Area

(2022) Journal of International Maritime Law. 27(5). p.302-312

Taking into account that deep sea mining activities in the Area can only be conducted in accordance with the rules and principles of the international deep seabed regime, compliance is a very important element. However, owing to the specific characteristics of deep sea mining, designing appropriate monitoring and inspection mechanisms is not an easy task. With regard to monitoring, a wide range of options and technologies is available, and the challenge of onsite inspections is to do this in the most cost-efficient way, while minimising interference with deep sea mining activities. Independence should evidently be guaranteed, as well as complementarity between the efforts of the ISA and the sponsoring states. This article analyses the legal regime concerning monitoring and inspection of deep sea mining activities as it stands, evaluates the recent proposals and available options, and provides suggestions on the way forward.