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LAW OF THE SEA


Published on: 12/1/2020 1:11:29 AM

Law of the Sea was first codified by Grotius in 16th century. Aristotle was the earliest to point the need of law of the sea due to the rising conflict between the Roman empire and the Greeks mainly on:

  • The Fishing zones
  • The Trade routes

Principles of the Law of Sea

There are two principles which governed the law of sea -:

1. Res Communis: The oceanic resources including the maritime zones shall be matter of political sovereignty for the coastal countries. Thus, every country has a right to occupy certain part of the sea.

2. Res Nullis: No nationality has supreme power or authority over any part of the ocean. It rejects res communis and suggested that ocean must belong to entire humanity.

  • UNCLOS (United Nation convention on Law of the Sea)
  • UNCLOS 1 - Geneva, 1958
  • UNCLOS 2 - New York, 1972
  • UNCLOS 3 - Geneva, 1974

They remained inconclusive except EFZ (Exclusive Fishing Zone) & territorial water. In 1982, UN Passed the law of the sea Act which became the constitutional guidelines for the nations.

In 1970s, the two important recommendations came:

1. Maltese Proposal: It suggested that oceanic resources must belong to entire humanity and especially for the poor countries. It was passed in 1967, UN decided to establish ad hoc committee to study the ocean bed and its peaceful use of resources.

2. Hedberg Proposal: It suggested that geological extension of the continental margin as the natural boundaries which can be taken as the standard measurement as a natural geological division between continental and oceanic crust and the country will keep the right to exploit the natural resources upto the continental margin in 1972.

After 1982, law of the sea act, there are some common agreement among nationalities which lead to the division of maritime zones.

Inland water

  • Depth upto 10 m. It includes back waters lagoon, Estuaries, Caves, Creeks.
  • All the sovereign power of the country extends our inland water.

2. Territorial water

  • It extends upto 12 Nautical Miles.
  • It is integral part of the nation and the sovereign power extends over territorial water, permanent navy installation, jetties, shipyards, fishing, exploitation of minerals.

3. Contiguous or Hot Pursuit Zone

  • It exceeds upto 24 Nautical Miles
  • Navy can exercise but permanent installation, anchoring, harbouring is not permissible. Enemies can be chased upto 24 nautical miles.

4. EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone)

  • It extends upto 200 Nautical Miles.
  • Countries like Brazil have 320 nautical miles. These are economic rights not political or sovereign rights, cannot be used for chasing threats.

5. High Sea

  • Used for international trade.
  • Belongs to entire humanity
  • It cannot be commanded.

Also Read | THE INDIAN OCEAN

Law of Innocent Passage

Article 17: Right of innocent passage

Subject to this Convention, ships of all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.

Article 18: Meaning of passage

1. Passage means navigation through the territorial sea for the purpose of:

(a) traversing that sea without entering internal waters or calling at a roadstead or port facility outside internal waters; or

(b) proceeding to or from internal waters or a call at such roadstead or port facility.

2. Passage shall be continuous and expeditious. However, passage includes stopping and anchoring, but only in so far as the same are incidental to ordinary navigation or are rendered necessary by force majeure or distress or for the purpose of rendering assistance to persons, ships or aircraft in danger or distress.

Article 19: Meaning of innocent passage

1. Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State. Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules of international law.

2. Passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities:

(a) any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State, or in any other manner in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;

(b) any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind;

(c) any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State;

(d) any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State;

(e) the launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft;

(f) the launching, landing or taking on board of any military device;

(g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State;

(h) any act of willful and serious pollution contrary to this Convention;

(i) any fishing activities;

(j) the carrying out of research or survey activities;

(k) any act aimed at interfering with any systems of communication or any other facilities or instal­lations of the coastal State;

(l) any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage.

Article 20: Submarines and other underwater vehicles

In the territorial sea, submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag.

Article 21: Laws and regulations of the coastal State relating to innocent passage

1. The coastal State may adopt laws and regulations, in conformity with the provisions of this Convention and other rules of international law, relating to innocent passage through the territorial sea, in respect of all or any of the following:

(a) the safety of navigation and the regulation of maritime traffic;

(b) the protection of navigational aids and facilities and other facilities or installations;

(c) the protection of cables and pipelines;

(d) the conservation of the living resources of the sea;

(e) the prevention of infringement of the fisheries laws and regulations of the coastal State;

(f) the preservation of the environment of the coastal State and the prevention, reduction and control of pollution thereof;

(g) marine scientific research and hydrographic surveys;

(h) the prevention of infringement of the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State.

2. Such laws and regulations shall not apply to the design, construction, manning or equipment of foreign ships unless they are giving effect to generally accepted international rules or standards.

3. The coastal State shall give due publicity to all such laws and regulations.

4. Foreign ships exercising the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea shall comply with all such laws and regulations and all generally accepted international regulations relating to the prevention of collisions at sea.

Article 22: Sea lanes and traffic separation schemes in the territorial sea

1. The coastal State may, where necessary having regard to the safety of navigation, require foreign ships exercising the right of innocent passage through its territorial sea to use such sea lanes and traffic separation schemes as it may designate or prescribe for the regulation of the passage of ships.

2. In particular, tankers, nuclear-powered ships and ships carrying nuclear or other inherently dangerous or noxious substances or materials may be required to confine their passage to such sea lanes.

3. In the designation of sea lanes and the prescription of traffic separation schemes under this article, the coastal State shall take into account:

(a) the recommendations of the competent international organization;

(b) any channels customarily used for international navigation;

(c) the special characteristics of particular ships and channels; and

(d) the density of traffic.

4. The coastal State shall clearly indicate such sea lanes and traffic separation schemes on charts to which due publicity shall be given.

Article 23:  Foreign nuclear-powered ships and ships carrying nuclear or other inherently dangerous or noxious substances

Foreign nuclear-powered ships and ships carrying nuclear or other inherently dangerous or noxious substances shall, when exercising the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea, carry documents and observe special precautionary measures established for such ships by international agreements.

Article 24: Duties of the coastal State

1. The coastal State shall not hamper the innocent passage of foreign ships through the territorial sea except in accordance with this Convention. In particular, in the application of this Convention or of any laws or regulations adopted in conformity with this Convention, the coastal State shall not:

(a) impose requirements on foreign ships which have the practical effect of denying or impairing the right of innocent passage; or

(b) discriminate in form or in fact against the ships of any State or against ships carrying cargoes to, from or on behalf of any State.

2. The coastal State shall give appropriate publicity to any danger to navigation, of which it has knowledge, within its territorial sea.

Article 25: Rights of protection of the coastal State

1. The coastal State may take the necessary steps in its territorial sea to prevent passage which is not innocent.

2. In the case of ships proceeding to internal waters or a call at a port facility outside internal waters, the coastal State also has the right to take the necessary steps to prevent any breach of the conditions to which admission of those ships to internal waters or such a call is subject.

3. The coastal State may, without discrimination in form or in fact among foreign ships, suspend temporarily in specified areas of its territorial sea the innocent passage of foreign ships if such suspension is essential for the protection of its security, including weapons exercises. Such suspension shall take effect only after having been duly published.

Article 26: Charges which may be levied upon foreign ships

1. No charge may be levied upon foreign ships by reason only of their passage through the territorial sea.

2. Charges may be levied upon a foreign ship passing through the territorial sea as payment only for specific services rendered to the ship. These charges shall be levied without discrimination.

Also Read | SEA LEVEL CHANGE