Date : 14 Dec 2021
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)Tags :
Why in News?
India remained committed to promoting a free, open, and rules-based order rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, the Centre informed Parliament on Monday while reiterating support for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
• The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is an international treaty that was adopted and signed in 1982.
- It replaced the four Geneva Conventions of April 1958, which respectively concerned the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, the continental shelf, the high seas, fishing, and conservation of living resources on the high seas.
- The Convention has created three new institutions on the international scene:
1. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea,
2. The International Seabed Authority,
3. The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
- Internal waters are all the waters that fall landward of the baseline, such as lakes, rivers, and tidewaters.
- States have the same sovereign jurisdiction over internal waters as they do over another territory in the country.
- There is no right of innocent passage through internal waters.
- Everything from the baseline to a limit not exceeding twelve miles is considered the State’s territorial sea.
- Much like internal waters, coastal States have sovereignty and jurisdiction over the territorial sea.
- These rights extend not only on the surface but also to the seabed and subsoil, as well as vertically to airspace.
- The contiguous zone extends seaward up to 24 nm from its baselines.
- It is an intermediary zone between the territorial sea and the high seas.
- The contiguous zone only gives jurisdiction to a state on the ocean’s surface and floor.
- It does not provide air and space rights.
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
- It extends 200 nautical miles from the baseline.
- In this zone, a coastal State has the exclusive right to exploit or conserve any resources found within the water, on the seafloor, or under the sea floor’s subsoil.
- It does not give a coastal state the right to prohibit or limit freedom of navigation or overflight, subject to very limited exceptions.
High Seas and Deep Ocean Floor
- The ocean surface and the water column beyond the EEZ are referred to as the high seas.
- It is considered as “the common heritage of all mankind” and is beyond any national jurisdiction.
- States can conduct activities in these areas as long as they are for peaceful purposes, such as transit, marine science, and undersea exploration.