Laws of the Sea

Julia Ferdinandea Graham

To ? do something with

If you are in contact with sailors, you will know that the sea is a place where the laws are particular.
Only sailors are on the shore on stormy days – what comes from the sea is for the one who takes it, and all dream of the miracle of the boat torn from its anchor and drifting dangerously towards… him!

But these are only small details, small particularities of this very strange Legal Code of the Sea.
Do you know Julia, Ferdinandea, Graham?

She is a dancer. – Actually no, it’s a nickname.
It is neither a woman, nor a man, nothing human for Julia Ferdinandea Graham.

She is nicknamed the dancer by the locals.

Julia is her French name.
Ferdinandea is her Italian name.
Graham is her English name.

Julia Ferdinandea Graham is a volcanic island located between the island of Pantelleria and the Sicilian town of Sciacca, roughly in the Mediterranean, between Sicily and Tunisia – a place of great maritime passage.

So far you are not amazed, am I wrong?

Julia / Ferdinandea / Graham / Island 1831

But Julia Ferdinandea Graham is an island that exists and does not exist.
I swear it’s true.
A simple consultation of the internet will prove to you that I am not lying to you, if you ever doubted my great probity.

This island was discovered in 1701 – and did not cause any trouble – it was not so big, it was forgotten. Its name at the time is not clear – so I won’t go into it.

On August 17, 1831, the Neapolitans named it Ferdinandea, in honor of the King of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand II.

On August 2, Admiral Humphrey Fleming Senhouse landed there and proudly planted the Union Jack: it was called Graham Island.

The king of Naples had this infamous flag removed and replaced it with that of his kingdom.

On September 29, the French geologist Derussat landed here too, removed the flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, planted the tricolour flag and named it Julia – because Julia was born in July.

This island had disappeared under the sea between 1701 and 1831.
It emerged again, in a torrent of flames and smoke on July 2, 1831.

To own this island was to own a major lock in the Mediterranean – it’s at sea, so all bets are off.


The English were furious – the right of the soil is immutable: first come, first served – they placed their flag before everyone else.
The Neapolitans were furious – this island was in their territorial waters.
The French were delighted – they denied everything and planted their flag – an English flag? no, there was none. A flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies? even less.
A French flag ? of course.

No photos at the time, no videos, no evidence. The British Crow should have left men to guard the flag. No such luck.

Julia’s History

The matter became serious – it was quite a case of war.

Especially since all the states had agreed on an immutable principle: the Land dominates the Sea.
It sounds silly.
But it means that for each land surface there will be a legal maritime area associated with the land – the territorial waters.

And here we enter the vast and dark world of legal doctrines.
How to manage the sea around Julia Ferdinandea Graham? Will we use the doctrine of the portico? Presumption in favor of the nearest coastal state? – Sicily, Italy now.
But what about the acquisiton-discovery rule? more understandable under the term: first come first served?
Shouldn’t we take into account the economic viability of the island? its inhabitants? the effective presence of the state that claims it?
Will we take the dark and terrible Anna Affair, which saw the British being robbed of a major prize by the Americans, as a basis? Will we use the Clipperton Sentence? or the Isle of Palms Sentence ? – you are not there, it is not yours.

Fortunately, there are the legal battles before the war.
The three states were legally torn apart.
They put their best lawyers on deck – you had to have Julia Ferdinandea Graham.
When all bets are off, the stories become delicious.

Fortunately for world peace, Julia Ferdinandea Graham disappeared in December 1831, swallowed up again by the sea.

In 1952, she was 25 meters under water.
In 1987, American bombers dropped their bomb on Julia – poor Julia – mistaking her for a Libyan submarine.

Because since a few years… Julia Ferdiandea Graham returns.
She is now between 7 and 5 meters under the sea level.

Julia Ferdinandea Graham – 21° C

Italy wanted to prevent any new attempt of annexation by the French or the British – who can take advantage of the annexations of 1831.
Divers placed a plaque on the island, annexing it to Sicily.

Sicilan Annexation : Julia Graham will be Ferdinandea only

But the plaque is broken now.

Isn’t that SO sad ?

Frenchmen have offered to plant a flag – specially made to resist both water and volcanic eruptions – that would allow the Tricolor flag to fly when the island soon resurfaces.
The English are taking it easy – but we know them, they are not far away.

So the question is burning: who will own the proud Julia Ferdinandea Graham?

As usual: the fastest.
As usual, the bad guy in the gang
Who is he? is the question.

Frankly, if that’s not enough to make a great adventure story, I don’t understand.
There are no characters? Of course there are.
There is no love story? but that? that, frankly, can be invented as much as one wants.
There is no ending? yes, for the moment there is no ending – no real ending. Who said that a show was real?
You can also stop the story just before the war between England and France starts – and end it with the return of the beautiful Julia – the possibilities are endless, the law of the sea is so amazing, chaotic and – most of all – still based on old remnants of ancient piracy, that there is bound to be something to invent a beautiful and impressive adventure.

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