APHG: UNCLOS: Law of the Sea

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United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
came into force on November 16, 1994, is an international treaty that provides a regulatory framework for the use of the world's seas and oceans, to ensure the conservation and equitable usage of resources and the marine environment and to ensure the protection and preservation of the living resources of the sea.
The Law of the Sea Convention
defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
Members of UNCLOS
he Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced four 1958 treaties. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to sign the treaty.[1] As of January 2015, 166 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention.
UN role
uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law
-provides support for meetings of states party to the Convention
-has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention
Other organizations involved with Law of the Sea?
International Maritime Organization, the International Whaling Commission, and the International Seabed Authority (ISA)
What does UNCLOS do?
replaces the older and weaker 'freedom of the seas' concept, dating from the 17th century: national rights were limited to a specified belt of water extending from a nation's coastlines, usually three nautical miles
-All waters beyond national boundaries were considered international waters: free to all nations, but belonging to none of them
-some nations expressed their desire to extend national claims: to include mineral resources, to protect fish stocks, and to provide the means to enforce pollution controls
- President Truman in 1945 extended United States control to all the natural resources of its continental shelf
Chile, Peru, and Ecuador extended their rights to?
a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 km) to cover their Humboldt Current fishing grounds.
UNCLOS II
- second Conference on the Law of the Sea
-did not result in any new agreements
-developing nations and third world countries participated only as clients, allies, or dependents of the United States or the Soviet Union, with no significant voice of their own
UNCLOS III
- attempt to reduce the possibility of groups of nation-states dominating the negotiations
-used a consensus process rather than majority vote
- setting limits, navigation, archipelagic status and transit regimes, exclusive economic zones (EEZs), continental shelf jurisdiction, deep seabed mining, the exploitation regime, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes.
-set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline
Internal waters
Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline. The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.
Territorial waters
-Out to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres; 14 miles) from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource.
-Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as transit passage, in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters
"Innocent Passage" (In Territorial waters)
defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not "prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security" of the coastal state. Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not "innocent", and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag
Archipelagic waters
-defines how the state can draw its territorial borders
- baseline is drawn between the outermost points of the outermost islands, subject to these points being sufficiently close to one another
-state has full sovereignty over these waters (like internal waters), but foreign vessels have right of innocent passage through archipelagic waters (like territorial waters)
Contiguous zone
-Beyond the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles (22 km) from the territorial sea baseline limit
-state can continue to enforce laws in four specific areas: customs, taxation, immigration and pollution, if the infringement started within the state's territory or territorial waters
Exclusive economic zones (EEZs)
-extend from the edge of the territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres; 230 miles) from the baseline
-coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources
-introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important
- Foreign nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables
Continental shelf
-may exceed 200 nautical miles (370 km) until the natural prolongation ends
-may never exceed 350 nautical miles (650 kilometres; 400 miles) from the baseline; or it may never exceed 100 nautical miles (190 kilometres; 120 miles) beyond the 2,500 meter isobath (the line connecting the depth of 2,500 meters)
UNCLOS (In the end)
-establishes general obligations for safeguarding the marine environment and protecting freedom of scientific research on the high seas, and also creates an innovative legal regime for controlling mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction, through an International Seabed Authority and the Common heritage of mankind principle
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