Innocent passage

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Innocent passage is a concept in the law of the sea that allows for a vessel to pass through the territorial waters of another state, subject to certain restrictions. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Article 19 defines innocent passage as:

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, 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 (UNCLOS), concluded in 1982 and coming into force in 1994, is generally accepted as a codification of customary international law of the sea.

Territorial waters Coastal waters that are part of a nation-states sovereign territory

The term territorial waters is sometimes used informally to refer to any area of water over which a state has jurisdiction, including internal waters, the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and potentially the continental shelf. In a narrower sense, the term is used as a synonym for the territorial sea.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea International maritime law

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which took place between 1973 and 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. The Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced four 1958 treaties. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty. As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention. It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.

Contents

1. Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State. Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules of international law.

2. Passage of a foreign ship shall be considered to be prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State if in the territorial sea it engages in any of the following activities:

(a) any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal State, or in any other manner in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations;

(b) any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind;

(c) any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defence or security of the coastal State;

(d) any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defence or security of the coastal State;

(e) the launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft;

(f) the launching, landing or taking on board of any military device;

(g) the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person contrary to the customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of the coastal State;

(h) any act of wilful and serious pollution contrary to this Convention;

(i) any fishing activities;

(j) the carrying out of research or survey activities;

(k) any act aimed at interfering with any systems of communication or any other facilities or installations of the coastal State;

(l) any other activity not having a direct bearing on passage. [1]

Innocent passage concedes the coastal country's territorial sea claim, unlike freedom of navigation, which directly contests it. [2] [3]

Freedom of navigation (FON) is a principle of customary international law that ships flying the flag of any sovereign state shall not suffer interference from other states, apart from the exceptions provided for in international law. This right is now also codified as article 87(1)a of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Not all UN member states have ratified the convention; notably, the United States has signed, but not ratified the convention. However, the § United States enforces the practice; see below.

The law was codified in 1958 and affirmed in 1982. [4] [5]

See also

1988 Black Sea bumping incident

The Black Sea bumping incident of 12 February 1988 occurred when American cruiser USS Yorktown tried to exercise the right of innocent passage through Soviet territorial waters in the Black Sea during the Cold War. The cruiser was bumped by the Soviet frigate Bezzavetny with the intention of pushing Yorktown into international waters. This incident also involved the destroyer USS Caron, sailing in company with USS Yorktown and claiming the right of innocent passage, which was intentionally shouldered by a Soviet Mirka-class frigate SKR-6. Yorktown reported minor damage to its hull, with no holing or risk of flooding. Caron was not damaged.

Strait passage is a concept in Admiralty law which allows for a vessel to pass through a strait. Given the United Nations' extension of territorial waters to a maximum width of 12 miles, straits with width of less than 24 miles are entirely composed of territorial waters. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea however, innocent passage rules do not apply and ships both commercial and military are allowed passage as if they were traversing the high seas.

Transit passage is a concept of the Law of the Sea, which allows a vessel or aircraft the freedom of navigation or overflight solely for the purpose of continuous and expeditious transit of a strait between one part of the high seas or exclusive economic zone and another. The requirement of continuous and expeditious transit does not preclude passage through the strait for the purpose of entering, leaving or returning from a state bordering the strait, subject to the conditions of entry to that state.

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International waters water outside of national jurisdiction

The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems (aquifers), and wetlands.

Freedom of the seas Customary international maritime law

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Internal waters waters on the landward side of the baseline of a nations territorial waters, except in archipelagic states

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Maritime Security Regimes are codes and conventions of behavior agreed upon by coastal states to provide a degree of security within territorial waters and on the high seas.

Convention on the Continental Shelf

The Convention on the Continental Shelf was an international treaty created to codify the rules of international law relating to continental shelves. The treaty, after entering into force 10 June 1964, established the rights of a sovereign state over the continental shelf surrounding it, if there be any. The treaty was one of three agreed upon at the first United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It has since been superseded by a new agreement reached in 1982 at UNCLOS III.

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The Barcelona Convention and Statute on the Regime of Navigable Waterways of International Concern is a multilateral treaty that was concluded at Barcelona on 20 April 1921. Its purpose is to ensure freedom of navigation in waterways which bear international significance. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on 8 October 1921. It went into effect on 31 October 1922. The convention is still in force.

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1986 Black Sea incident

In the 1986 Black Sea incident on 13 March the American cruiser USS Yorktown and the destroyer USS Caron, claiming the right of innocent passage, entered the Soviet territorial waters near the southern Crimean Peninsula. The warships passed within six miles of the Soviet coast, where they were soon confronted by the Soviet frigate Ladny. The commander of Ladny notified the U.S. warships that they had violated Soviet territorial waters and requested that they depart immediately. The U.S. warships confirmed receipt of the warning but did not change course. The Soviet command placed its Black Sea air and naval forces on combat readiness and dispatched border guard vessels and naval aircraft to intercept the U.S. warships.

Kerch Strait incident International incident between Russian and Ukrainian navy

An international incident occurred on 25 November 2018 when the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) coast guard fired upon and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels attempting to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait on their way to the port of Mariupol. In 2014, Russia had annexed the nearby Crimean Peninsula, which is dominantly internationally recognised as Ukrainian territory. It later constructed the Crimean Bridge across the strait. Under a 2003 treaty, the strait and the Azov Sea are intended to be the shared territorial waters of both countries, and freely accessible.

References

  1. UN CLS, Part II
  2. Bosco, Joseph A. "Are Freedom of Navigation Operations and Innocent Passage Really the Same?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  3. "U.S. destroyer challenges China's claims in South China Sea". Reuters. 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  4. Rothwell, Donald R.; Bateman, W. S. Walter Samuel Grono (2000-11-14). Navigational Rights and Freedoms, and the New Law of the Sea. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN   9041114998.
  5. Dupuy, René Jean; Vignes, Daniel (1991-10-16). A handbook on the new law of the sea. 2 (1991). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN   0792310632.

The International and Comparative Law Quarterly is a law review published quarterly by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. It was established in 1952 and covers comparative law as well as public and private international law, including human rights, war crimes, and genocide, World Trade Organization law and investment treaty arbitration, recent developments of international courts and tribunals, as well as comparative public and private law all over the world. In addition to longer articles, the journal publishes book reviews. The editors in chief are Catherine Redgwell and Robert McCorquodale.