UNITED NATIONS – OCEANS AND LAW OF THE SEA

The present article has been written by Akrati Jain during her internship in LeDroit India

INTRODUCTION-
Over three- fourth of the world is roofed by waters. Maritime transport, that is historically used because the main and low-cost supply of transport, has currently attracted the eye of the whole maritime world. The efforts of assorted nations have led to spectacular progress in various fields of marine science and ocean engineering. This has not solely expedited maritime transport, however additionally enabled the nations to hold over80% of the international trade. Each maritime country having a lineation of its own, has recognized the importance of seabed resources and is taking steps for adequate naval fleet for economic and strategic well-being of the state and to safeguard costal state security and territorial integrity.
The laws of the ocean were evolved throughout the time of grotious and were observed by the state as customary rules of international law. The whole ocean is split into three components viz. territorial sea (formerly called as territorial waters), contiguous zone and the high seas.

LAW OF SEA-
• Define rights and liabilities of nations with respect to the world’s oceans.
• Rights and liabilities related to:

  1. Business
  2. Environment
  3. Maritime resources
  4. Boundaries
    The law of the ocean contains the foundation governing the utilization of the ocean, together with its resources and environment. It issues matters like as navigational or directional rights, ocean mineral claims, and coastal waters jurisdiction.
    The law of the sea is one of the principal subjects of international law and may be a mixture of written agreement (treaty) and establishes or emerging customary law.
    There was plenty of arguing between totally different countries to use the sea. All countries had totally different claims concerning the utilization of the ocean. With the read to reconcile these claims and resolve controversies, the two UN conferences on the law of the ocean were held in Geneva in 1958 and 1960.

First Geneva United Nations conference on the law of the sea, 1958-

The general assembly of the United Nations on February 21, 1957 adopted a resolution for convening a conference on the law of the sea. Consequently, in 1958 a conference was held in Geneva to consider a number of drafts prepared by the international law commission.
The convention was attended by 82 states, that adopted the subsequent four conventions;

  1. Convention on the territorial sea and contiguous zone, entry into force ; 10 September 1964
  2. Convention on the continental shelf, entry into force; 10 June 1964
  3. Convention on the high seas, entry into force; 30 September 962
  4. Convention on fishing and conservation of living resources of the high seas, entry into force;20 march 1966

Second Geneva United Nations conference on the law of the sea, 1960-

The 2nd united nation conference on the law of the sea was held at Geneva in 1960 to mend breadth of the territorial sea. However it couldn’t accomplish success. During this conference America proposal introduced that’s territorial water breadth was is 6 nautical miles bound that breadth those are costal begin that may fisheries therein space however the proposal was rejected by majority.
After this conference major issue come in light. During this time in science rapidly growth and innovation happened. That by the demand of the territorial sea is increased. An industry also increases the demand of the ocean minerals and for the commercial resources. That by different country claims the different territorial water.
The pressing issue of varied claims of territorial waters was raised at the UN in 1967 by representative of Malta, arvid pardo.
The most vital issue that was left undecided was the breadth of the territorial sea. It had been therefore as a result of all the state weren’t agreeable to one and therefore the same limit of the territorial sea.
In order to resolve this specific issue, second conference on the law of the sea was held in Geneva in 1960; however it again failed due to different claims of the states. All the four conventions came into force. However, it began to be complete that the laws developed by the Geneva conference were inadequate visible of the hidden large quantities of minerals, oil and gas deposits within the sea and also the enhanced efficiency and capacity of some of the states to take advantage of them.
After the second U.N. conference on the law of the sea, curtain developments emerged that significantly modify the situation-

  1. A large no. of latest state, largely in Asia & Africa emerged.
  2. Fast progress in science & technology created attainable business exploitation of mineral and other resources at greater depths of the seabed.
  3. Unprecedented growths in population & demands for higher living standards have intense demand for food, fuel and other resources.
    These reason created it imperative that the law of the ocean should be re-formulated therefore on adopt it to this times & circumstances and to save lots of the interests of all states.

THE THIRD UNITED NATION CONFERENCE ON LAW OF THE SEA , 1982 (UNCLOS)-
In 1967, the representative of Malta, arvid pardo gave a survey of the natural mineral resources of the sea bed before the 1st committee of the overall assembly of the UN, his survey coupled with the acute & urgent need of the minerals & other factors such as military & strategic aspects necessitated to get down such laws which can probably management & regulate the sea in a more practical manner. The move was to secure the mineral wealth of the oceans still on avoid the militarization of the deep ocean floor.
The 1st session of the third UN conference on the law of sea was held in New York in 1973. At the end of nine year in 12 sessions, the conference adopted the law of sea convention in 1982.
Convention on the law of the sea, 1982, the convention includes the bottom lined by the four Geneva Convention of 1958.And creates some new regimes.
It has set down a 12 nautical miles limit for the territorial sea.
It contains elaborate machinery for the settlement of most of the disputes which will arise beneath the convention, at the request of one of the parties to the dispute.
In the case regarding the continental shelf between Libya & Malta, the court observed that the 1982 convention is of major importance, having been adopted by an overwhelming majority of states, hence it is clearly the duty of the court to think about in what degree any of its relevant provisions are binding upon the parties as a rule of customary I.L. and noted that the provisions on the continental shelf reflect the customary law.
Thus, the convention is a major achievement and its ambit is very wide.
• Forms after third UN conference on the law of sea (UNCLOS III) Held between 1973 and 1982.
(The C in this UNCLOS III stand for conference, not convention)
Signed on: 10th December 1982 at Montego Bay, Jamaica
Effective date: 16 th November 1994
There was no condition that this convention would come into force 1 year after 60 countries would bring their domestic laws in conformity with this convention. Guyana was the 60th country to ratify it on 18th November 1993.

Territorial sea (territorial waters / maritime belt) –
Sovereignty of the state is confined not only to the waters and land laying at intervals its boundaries. It additionally extends to a locality of the sea which is adjacent to the constant state.
Territorial water is that belt of the sea the costal state exercises the sovereignty. Coastal state exercises sovereignty not only over the territorial waters, however also over air space over the territorial sea as well as its bed and sub-soil.

Breadth of territorial sea-
Article 3 of the U.N. convention on the law of the sea, 1982 “ provides that each state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea upto a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles measured from base lines. Two methods or strategies are aforementioned down for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea: the law- water line & the straight baseline.
The method of straight baseline was enunciated by the Anglo Norwegian fisheries case, that had a decisive effect on the baseline issue.

Indian position on territorial sea-
India’s position in relevance the law of the sea is mostly governed by Art 297 of the constitution of India. And the territorial water, continental shelf, and other maritime zones acts. It proclaims the sovereignty of India over the territorial waters of India & the seabed and subsoil underlying and also the airspace over such water. The limit of the territorial is the limit each purpose of that is at a distance of 12 nautical miles, from the nearest point of the appropriate baseline. Their India’s position corresponds to the, rule adopted in the U.N. convention on the law of the sea, 1982. India has also signed the similar.

Contiguous zone –
It is that part of the ocean that is on the far side and adjacent to the territorial waters of the coastal state. The coastal state does not exercise sovereignty over this part of the sea. However, they’ll take applicable action to protect or safe guard its revenue and like matters.

According to Art 33 of the UN convention on the law of the sea, 1982-

During a zone contiguous to its territorial sea, the coastal state could exercise the management necessary to prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal , immigration or hygienic laws within its territory or territorial sea;
Punish infringement of the above regulations committed within its territory or territorial sea. Thus, the contiguous zone imposes certain restriction on the freedom of the high seas. It may not extend beyond 14 nautical miles baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

Indian position-
is in conformity with the above provisions. India is one of the signatories of the UN convention of the law of the sea,1982.

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