The increase in new activities in the offshore sector is posing major challenges for the sustainable management of the oceans, and highlighting competing interests that the law needs to accommodate, such as:

  • protecting the marine environment and conserving its biodiversity;
  • mitigating climate change effects;
  • guaranteeing the continuity of the relevant economic activities;
  • guaranteeing energy efficiency and security;
  • protecting the rights of local communities and populations.

From the study of selected maritime activities and their legal framework, the SUSTAINABLEOCEAN project will identify patterns of regime interaction and assess their impact on the different maritime uses. The project will seek to answer the research questionhow can the law contribute to the sustainable use of the ocean and strike a balance between competing interests at sea?

While the law pertaining to ocean governance is fragmented into several different regimes, the project will begin by analyzing three legal frameworks which are most relevant to the offshore industry: the law of the sea, climate change law, and energy law. It will focus on the operation of the offshore industry and on the competing interests which have influenced the respective fields of law. This will allow the project to identify patterns of regime interaction and assess their impact on the different uses of the sea.

The research project strives to contribute to the debate on regime interaction through an analysis of that interaction before tensions or conflict rise. It aims to facilitate the realization that competing interests do not always generate tension, and may often benefit in a mutual way.

The research will ultimately offer a theory of interest and regime interaction, and thus create a comprehensive framework for the development of legal tools which will contribute to sustainable ocean governance.


The project will follow a thematic division into 3 work packages (WPs), addressing:

  1. the general theoretical framework;
  2. the flexibility of the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC) regime;
  3. the potential governance for the offshore industry.