The systematic protection of persons at sea remains flawed. This problem became more prevalent amid the pandemic as port closures caused an unprecedent humanitarian crisis at sea. By looking at the impact of port closures on the rights of persons at sea, this article evaluates how international law can be relied upon to protect their rights making a timely contribution to the ongoing debate on the protection of persons at sea. It is shown that while persons at sea are afforded significant protection in international law, the rights and duties of States often clash leaving persons at sea in a legal vacuum. In order to plug these gaps, this article argues that the different rights and duties of States must be interpreted and applied in a balanced way that guarantees the protection of persons at sea within and beyond the Covid-19 context.
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© 2021 The Author(s).
- LAW Centre for International Law
- LAW Human Rights Implementation Centre