The threat of maritime terrorism has been of growing concern to the international community since the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. This concern had already been significant due to terrorist attacks on vessels such as the American warship, the U.S.S. COLE, in October 2000 1 and grew substantially with the attack on a French-registered oil tanker, the M/V LIMBURG, in the port of Aden in October 2002. 2 Nations and individual states have asserted tremendous efforts to safeguard ships and ports, at both international and domestic levels, with a rarely seen degree of swiftness. 3
The responses to threats to shipping and ports are relatively straightforward jurisdictionally. A port is part of the sovereignty of a coastal State, and it can legislate for such an area in the same way it can protect other facilities within its territory. Similarly, a flag State retains jurisdiction over vessels it registers. 4 It can provide for on-board protection of its vessels in a fashion that is clearly within its jurisdiction.
This Article will consider the jurisdictional issues surrounding a similar but distinct threat, the threat posed by the possibility of terrorist attack on submarine cables and oil and gas platforms and their related facilities, including pipelines. International law clearly provides that a coastal State can regulate matters in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including such platforms. However, the extent of measures a state can implement to protect such platforms and their associated facilities is undefined. ...