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HMS Enterprise, a multi-role survey vessel, will be docked in Koper until Monday. Foto: Nataša Ugrin Tomšič

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British NATO warship docks in Port of Koper

A sign that the arbitration ruling is being implemented?
11. August 2017 ob 20:35
Koper - Radio Koper

The Royal Navy warship HMS Enterprise has anchored in the Port of Koper. The aim of the visit is to enhance cooperation between the Slovene Armed Forces and the NATO naval forces.

The Royal Navy warship arrived in Koper on Friday morning. Aljoša Besednjak of the Maritime Administration said that the Defence Ministry allowed the vessel to dock in Koper: "When the warship arrived, the Port of Koper, the Defence Ministry, the Interior Ministry, and the Maritime Administration held a meeting. We put together a schedule of activities, and the Maritime Administration then authorized a Defence Ministry official to board the vessel."

Vessels wishing to enter Slovene waters follow a ship reporting system agreed by Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy in 2000. Vessels bound for Koper, Trieste, and Monfalcone pass through Croatian and Slovenian waters, but on their way back they pass through Italian waters.

Is this visit a sign that Slovenia is implementing the arbitration ruling on the border between Slovenia and Croatia? Marko Perkovič, a lecturer at the Faculty of Maritime Studies and Transport, says it isn't: "In this case the vessel would have had to sail in the opposite direction. This is possible in theory, but it would have been a very difficult and unprofessional thing to do."

Perkovič believes that the vessel should have notified Croatia that it's exercising its right of innocent passage. He also maintains that the ship reporting system hasn't changed since the ruling on the border between Slovenia and Croatia. Therefore, the visit doesn't seem to be a sign that the arbitration ruling is being implemented. We asked the Croatian Defence Ministry whether HMS Enterprise had notified them of their intention to pass through Croatian waters, but we have yet to receive an answer.