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The Law Of Seas

1. The law of the Sea convention 1982

The law of seas governs all the rules and regulations related to seas. The main aim of the law of seas is to ensure that the coastal state that the sea is surrounded by, that particular state’s interest shall be protected. When we talk about any municipal laws that governs the internal matters of the state in the same way the law of sea deals with the matter related to water bodies .the law of sea convention 1982 was established by the United Nations Convention.

Which is also known as UNCLOS .it defines the rights and duties entitled to the states .and it defines the limit as to till which limit of the sea the state has sovereignty .It also states that in case of violation of any rights of the coastal state for example in the case of fishery the state is only entitled to use that natural resource for the economic development of the state but meanwhile no other state has the authority to do so.

Any state can innocently pass by the water territory of another state but that shall not harm the interest of that particular state .the ship passing through the innocent passage shall not hamper the security of the coastal state and must pass through with the intention of good faith .As long as it is not hampering the interest till then they have right to passage .Any state violating the rights of the another coastal state can be punished under the UNCLOS.

Hence the unclos basically aims at protecting the rights and establishing duties on the coastal state.


Development of law relating to High Seas

High seas is that particular part of the sea where no state has absolute sovereignty and all state shall use it commonly, its beyond the waters and no state can have jurisdiction over it. There are several activities that takes place in the high seas .The high seas plays a very important role in the preservation of the natural resources as the extractions of natural resources in that particular area is restricted . The high seas helps in the protection and the balance of the ecosystem as there are several species ,minerals and other natural resources found ,which makes it more prone towards the establishment of several industries like fishing and shipping industries that rely largely on the natural resources that’s found in the high seas.

Freedom associated with high seas:

  1. Freedom of navigation
  2. Fishing
  3. Lay lines of pipe, submarine
  4. Freedom to fly over high seas
  5. Freedom of scientific research
  6. Freedom to establish artificial islands on high seas
On all these aspects the state has the freedom to occupy or utilise the high seas for economic development of the development of the high seas .The condition precedent to all these shall always comply to the fact that it shall not over extract the natural resources of the high seas and must aim at the development of the high seas .All the states shall co-operate each other .
They need to conserve and preserve the fishers and all the water organisms and resources.They need to respect the treaties .

2. Exclusive Economic Zone, Contiguous Zone, Continental Shelf and Territorial Sea

When we talk about the zones of the sea we are delegating the zones so that the sovereignty of the state can be established only on those zones that they can occupy sovereignty over.

Territorial sea

The area that is immediately adjacent to the state that is known as territorial sea. 12 nautical miles is the territorial sea. The state has complete sovereignty over the territorial sea.it was developed in back 18thcentury.
Earlier to measure the territorial sea zone the fire of the cannon shot was used till wherever the cannon shot reaches that state has the sovereignty 3 nautical miles . After which Unites Nations held is invalid and said it as 12 nautical miles .The cannon shot never won universal acceptance by UN .Until convention came they used to follow cannon shot.

It also includes internal waters baseline- from the low water line along the coast from there 12 nautical miles are calculated.

The concept of innocent passage

Any state can innocently pass by the water territory of another state but that shall not harm the interest of that particular state .The ship passing through the innocent passage shall not hamper the security of the coastal state and must pass through with the intention of goodfaith.

Which things are against innocent passage:

  1. Any threat ,force any violation done to the State
  2. Exercise of weapon, collecting information, fishing activity ,any pollution done .
  3. Hampering the defence.

Contiguous Zone

The contiguous zone is calculated from territorial sea till 12 nautical miles .It is that area of the sea where state have limited control to prevent any infringement on custom ,immigration laws or regulation within the territory. The state cannot establish the entire control like territorial zone .

Continental Shelf

It is calculated from contiguous zone 200 nautical miles; it includes sea bed and submarine. Previously they use to measure continental shelf through biscuit method, it was 300 nautical miles (outer shell will not go beyond 350 nautical miles). From isobath 2500 metres. The land below the sea after contiguous zone is continental shelf, the coastal state has limited power over this zone, the only power the coastal state has is to explore and exploit the natural resources. If any other state wants to exploit, then that state shall take permission of the coastal state. The natural resources consist of fish minerals etc, usually the convention consider the distance of 200 nautical miles.

Exclusive Economic Zone

From territorial sea baseline up to 200 nautical miles is exclusive economic zone. It is combination of contiguous zone plus continental shelf. The state has the authority over it only limited to fishing, mining and only scientific research. Anything that boost the economical condition of the coastal state or that area until that the exploration is allowed, no other state has the right. They also establish artificial islands they must take essential steps for the preservation and the conservation of the natural resources. Exploration should not be over exploration. And certain freedoms are same as high sea.

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