LYMINGTON, United Kingdom—The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), the world’s preeminent organisation devoted to protection of submarine cables, offered its congratulations to the International Seabed Authority (ISA) on the 25th anniversary of its founding. Although it does not regulate submarine cables, the ISA plays a key role in ocean governance as the regulator and developer of deep seabed mining in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), an activity that must be coordinated with submarine cables.
Both the ICPC and the ISA depend on the oceans law framework established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)—specifically, the ICPC for high-seas freedoms to install and repair submarine cables and the ISA for its existence and framework for developing deep seabed mining.
In a letter to ISA Secretary-General Mr Michael Lodge, ICPC’s leadership expressed the following: ‘We congratulate you, the Secretariat staff, and leaders of the Authority’s other organs for creating a robust and expert institution devoted to the development of mineral resources in the deep ocean with a minimum of environmental harm, and one open to engagement with other stakeholders. Submarine cables and seabed mining—two of the principal industries operating in the deep ocean—must continue to coordinate and cooperate to deliver their respective benefits to the world’s peoples.’
The ICPC and ISA concluded a memorandum of understanding in 2010 to further cooperation between the two organisations and their associated industries. ICPC delegations regularly attend ISA annual sessions in Kingston, Jamaica, where the ISA is headquartered, and ISA representatives have also attended ICPC Plenary meetings. In October 2018, the ICPC and ISA jointly sponsored a workshop in Bangkok, Thailand to develop practical tools for coordinating between submarine cable operators and mining contractors.