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Cover International Law Concentrate

8. The law of the sea  

The law of the sea governs the relations of States in respect of the uses of the seas. It allocates competences between, on the one hand, coastal States wishing to extend their jurisdictional reach as far as possible and the flag States, on the other, wishing to have the seas open for vessels to navigate and for other uses. The chapter discusses the laws applicable to each maritime zone; namely, internal waters, the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone, the high seas, and the seabed. It also sets out the rules of maritime delimitation between States with opposite or adjacent coastlines.

Chapter

Cover International Law

8. The international law of the sea  

The international law of the sea is one of the oldest disciplines of public international law. In fact, the identification and application of principles for governing the roughly 70 per cent of the earth’s surface that consists of water has been a topic of interest for centuries. This chapter deals with the main principles and rules that make up the international legal regulation of the seas. It begins by discussing the most important legal sources in the law of the sea, including the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention. It then discusses the spatial partitioning of the sea and the different maritime zones that exist in the law of the sea; discusses piracy; and examines a number of selected issues relating to the conservation of marine life. The final section provides a short introduction to dispute settlement in the law of the sea.

Chapter

Cover International Law

8. The international law of the sea  

The international law of the sea is one of the oldest disciplines of public international law. In fact, the identification and application of principles for governing the roughly 70 per cent of the earth’s surface that consists of water has been a topic of interest for centuries. This chapter deals with the main principles and rules that make up the international legal regulation of the seas. It begins by discussing the most important legal sources in the law of the sea, including the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention. It then discusses the spatial partitioning of the sea and the different maritime zones that exist in the law of the sea; discusses piracy; and examines a number of selected issues relating to the conservation of marine life. The final section provides a short introduction to dispute settlement in the law of the sea.

Chapter

Cover International Law

18. The law of the sea  

This chapter explores the law of the sea. The ‘law of the sea’ is a blanket term, describing the law relating to all bodies of water, irrespective of whether they are subject to the jurisdiction of a State. Naturally, the seas are tremendously important globally; the seas are a crucial means of communication and trade, allowing for the transport of persons and goods around the world. The seas and their subsoil are also a valuable economic resource. However, the law of the sea is also important for its significant contributions to public international law. The law of the sea governs a series of overlapping sovereign interests and projections of jurisdiction. The basic concept is that the sea is divided into two broad categories: territorial sea and high seas. The exact line between these two has been at the heart of more than four centuries of legal developments and disputes.