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Law of the sea

Law of the Sea is a body of international law that concerns the principles and rules by which public entities, especially states, interact in maritime matters,[1] including navigational rights, sea mineral rights, and coastal waters jurisdiction. It is the public law counterpart to admiralty law, which concerns private maritime intercourse. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, concluded in 1982 and put into force in 1994, is generally accepted as a codification of customary international law of the sea.

With many people worldwide now turning their eyes to an ocean in peril, the Law of the Sea convention turned into a global diplomatic effort to create a basis of laws and principles for all nations to follow concerning the sea and everything it held. The result: A 1982 oceanic constitution, called "The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea". Between New York, USA and Geneva, Switzerland, ambassadors from 165+ countries sat down to trade and barter for their nations' rights.

The conference created the standard for a 12-mile territorial sea around a land and allowed it to gain universal acceptance. Within these limits, States are free to enforce any of their own laws or regulations or use any resources. The Convention allows for "innocent passage" through these previously claimed seas, meaning ships don't have to go out of their way to avoid another country's ocean as long as they do not do any harm to the country or break any of its laws.


  1. ^ James Harrison, Making the Law of the Sea: A Study in the Development of International Law (2011), p. 1.

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