International waters

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Areas outside exclusive economic zones in dark blue. International waters.svg
Areas outside exclusive economic zones in dark blue.

The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water (or their drainage basins) transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems (aquifers), and wetlands. [1]

Drainage basin Area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet

A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water. The drainage basin includes all the surface water from rain runoff, snowmelt, and nearby streams that run downslope towards the shared outlet, as well as the groundwater underneath the earth's surface. Drainage basins connect into other drainage basins at lower elevations in a hierarchical pattern, with smaller sub-drainage basins, which in turn drain into another common outlet.

Large marine ecosystem Regions of the worlds oceans characterized by distinct bathymetry, hydrography, productivity, and trophically dependent populations

Large marine ecosystems (LMEs) are regions of the world's oceans, encompassing coastal areas from river basins and estuaries to the seaward boundaries of continental shelves and the outer margins of the major ocean current systems. They are relatively large regions on the order of 200,000 km² or greater, characterized by distinct bathymetry, hydrography, productivity, and trophically dependent populations. Productivity in LME protected areas is generally higher than in the open ocean.

Groundwater water located beneath the ground surface

Groundwater is the water present beneath Earth's surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock become completely saturated with water is called the water table. Groundwater is recharged from and eventually flows to the surface naturally; natural discharge often occurs at springs and seeps, and can form oases or wetlands. Groundwater is also often withdrawn for agricultural, municipal, and industrial use by constructing and operating extraction wells. The study of the distribution and movement of groundwater is hydrogeology, also called groundwater hydrology.

Contents

International waters (high seas) do not belong to any State's jurisdiction, known under the doctrine of 'Mare liberum'. States have the right to fishing, navigation, overflight, laying cables and pipelines, as well as scientific research.

Oceans, seas, and waters outside national jurisdiction are also referred to as the high seas or, in Latin, mare liberum (meaning free sea). The Convention on the High Seas, signed in 1958, which has 63 signatories, defined "high seas" to mean "all parts of the sea that are not included in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State" and where "no State may validly purport to subject any part of them to its sovereignty." [2] The Convention on the High Seas was used as a foundation for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed in 1982, which recognized Exclusive Economic Zones extending 200 nautical miles from the baseline, where coastal States have sovereign rights to the water column and sea floor as well as the natural resources found there. [3]

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Convention on the High Seas International treaty

The Convention on the High Seas is an international treaty which codifies the rules of international law relating to the high seas, otherwise known as international waters. The treaty was one of four treaties created at the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The treaty was signed on 29 April 1958 and entered into force on 30 September 1962.

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

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a nation's internal waters include waters on the side of the baseline of a nation's territorial waters that is facing toward the land, except in archipelagic states. It includes waterways such as rivers and canals, and sometimes the water within small bays.

The high seas make up 50% of the surface area of the planet and cover over two thirds of the ocean. [4]

Ships sailing the high seas are generally under the jurisdiction of the flag state (if there is one); [5] however, when a ship is involved in certain criminal acts, such as piracy, [6] any nation can exercise jurisdiction under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction. International waters can be contrasted with internal waters, territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.

The flag state of a merchant vessel is the jurisdiction under whose laws the vessel is registered or licensed, and is deemed the nationality of the vessel. A merchant vessel must be registered and can only be registered in one jurisdiction, but may change the register in which it is registered. The flag state has the authority and responsibility to enforce regulations over vessels registered under its flag, including those relating to inspection, certification, and issuance of safety and pollution prevention documents. As a ship operates under the laws of its flag state, these laws are applicable if the ship is involved in an admiralty case.

Piracy Act of robbery or criminal violence at sea

Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates. The earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. Narrow channels which funnel shipping into predictable routes have long created opportunities for piracy, as well as for privateering and commerce raiding. Historic examples include the waters of Gibraltar, the Strait of Malacca, Madagascar, the Gulf of Aden, and the English Channel, whose geographic structures facilitated pirate attacks. A land-based parallel is the ambushing of travelers by bandits and brigands in highways and mountain passes. Privateering uses similar methods to piracy, but the captain acts under orders of the state authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation, making it a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors.

Universal jurisdiction allows states or international organizations to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed, and regardless of the accused's nationality, country of residence, or any other relation with the prosecuting entity. Crimes prosecuted under universal jurisdiction are considered crimes against all, too serious to tolerate jurisdictional arbitrage.

International waterways

Komarno in Slovakia is an inland port on the Danube River which is an important international waterway. Komarom114.JPG
Komárno in Slovakia is an inland port on the Danube River which is an important international waterway.

Several international treaties have established freedom of navigation on semi-enclosed seas.

Freedom of the seas Customary international maritime law

Freedom of the seas is a principle in the international law and sea. It stresses freedom to navigate the oceans. It also disapproves of war fought in water. The freedom is to be breached only in a necessary international agreement.

Baltic Sea A sea in Northern Europe bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands

The Baltic Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain.

Sound Dues tariff

The Sound Dues were a toll on the use of the Øresund which constituted up to two thirds of Denmark's state income in the 16th and 17th centuries. The dues were introduced by King Eric of Pomerania in 1429 and remained in effect until the Copenhagen Convention of 1857.

Dardanelles strait in northwestern Turkey

The Dardanelles, also known from Classical Antiquity as the Hellespont (; Greek: Ἑλλήσποντος, Hellespontos, literally "Sea of Helle"), is a narrow, natural strait and internationally significant waterway in northwestern Turkey that forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey. One of the world's narrowest straits used for international navigation, the Dardanelles connects the Sea of Marmara with the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, while also allowing passage to the Black Sea by extension via the Bosphorus. The Dardanelles is 61 kilometres (38 mi) long, and 1.2 to 6 kilometres wide, averaging 55 metres (180 ft) deep with a maximum depth of 103 metres (338 ft) at its narrowest point abreast the city of Çanakkale.

Other international treaties have opened up rivers, which are not traditionally international waterways.

Disputes over international waters

Atlantic Ocean - the main zone of sea transport in 15th-20th centuries. Clouds over the Atlantic Ocean.jpg
Atlantic Ocean – the main zone of sea transport in 15th–20th centuries.

Current unresolved disputes over whether particular waters are "International waters" include:

In addition to formal disputes, the government of Somalia exercises little control de facto over Somali territorial waters. Consequently, much piracy, illegal dumping of waste and fishing without permit has occurred.

Although water is often seen as a source of conflict, recent research suggests that water management can be a source for cooperation between countries. Such cooperation will benefit participating countries by being the catalyst for larger socio-economic development. [9] For instance, the countries of the Senegal River Basin that cooperate through the Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal (OMVS) have achieved greater socio-economic development and overcome challenges relating to agriculture and other issues. [10]

International waters agreements

Limits of national jurisdiction and sovereignty
Outer space (including Earth orbits; the Moon and other celestial bodies, and their orbits)
national airspace territorial waters airspacecontiguous zone airspace[ citation needed ]international airspace
land territory surfaceinternal waters surfaceterritorial waters surfacecontiguous zone surfaceExclusive Economic Zone surfaceinternational waters surface
internal waters territorial waters exclusive economic zone international waters
land territory underground Continental Shelf surface extended continental shelf surface international seabed surface
Continental Shelf underground extended continental shelf underground international seabed underground
  full national jurisdiction and sovereignty
  restrictions on national jurisdiction and sovereignty
  international jurisdiction per common heritage of mankind

Global agreements

Regional agreements

Map showing the parties of the Barcelona Convention. Barcelona Convention.png
Map showing the parties of the Barcelona Convention.

At least ten conventions are included within the Regional Seas Program of UNEP, [19] including:

  1. the Atlantic Coast of West and Central Africa; [20]
  2. the North-East Pacific (Antigua Convention);
  3. the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention);
  4. the wider Caribbean (Cartagena Convention);
  5. the South-East Pacific; [21]
  6. the South Pacific (Nouméa Convention);
  7. the East African seaboard; [22]
  8. the Kuwait region (Kuwait Convention);
  9. the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (Jeddah Convention).

Addressing regional freshwater issues is the 1992 Helsinki Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE/Helsinki Water Convention) [23]

Water-body-specific agreements

International waters institutions

Freshwater institutions

Marine institutions

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Including Japan, India, the United States, an arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, and the People's Republic of China, which opposed any suggestion that coastal States could be obliged to share the resources of the exclusive economic zone with other powers that had historically fished in those waters during the Third Conference of the United Nations on the Law of the Seas.

Related Research Articles

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.

Fish migration Movement of fishes from one part of a water body to another on a regular basis

Many types of fish migrate on a regular basis, on time scales ranging from daily to annually or longer, and over distances ranging from a few metres to thousands of kilometres. Fish usually migrate to feed or to reproduce, but in other cases the reasons are unclear.

Australian Antarctic Territory Australias territorial claim in Antarctica

The Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) is a part of Antarctica administered by the Australian Antarctic Division, an agency of the federal Department of the Environment and Energy. The territory's history dates to a claim on Enderby Land made by the United Kingdom in 1841, which was subsequently expanded and eventually transferred to Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation by area. In 1961, the Antarctic Treaty came into force. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. As a result, only four other countries—New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, and Norway—recognise Australia's claim to sovereignty in Antarctica.

Continental shelf A portion of a continent that is submerged under an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea

A continental shelf is a portion of a continent that is submerged under an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea. Much of the shelves were exposed during glacial periods and interglacial periods. The shelf surrounding an island is known as an insular shelf.

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.

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. It governs such as matters as navigational rights, sea mineral rights, and coastal waters jurisdiction. It is the public law counterpart to admiralty law, also known as maritime law, which concerns private maritime matters, such as laws concerning carriage of goods by sea, salvage, collisions, and marine insurance.

Exclusive economic zone Adjacent sea zone in which a state has special rights

An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a sea zone prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind. It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (nmi) from its coast. In colloquial usage, the term may include the continental shelf. The term does not include either the territorial sea or the continental shelf beyond the 200 nmi limit. The difference between the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone is that the first confers full sovereignty over the waters, whereas the second is merely a "sovereign right" which refers to the coastal state's rights below the surface of the sea. The surface waters, as can be seen in the map, are international waters.

Marine protected area Protected areas of seas, oceans, estuaries or large lakes

Marine protected areas (MPA) are protected areas of seas, oceans, estuaries or in the US, the Great Lakes. These marine areas can come in many forms ranging from wildlife refuges to research facilities. MPAs restrict human activity for a conservation purpose, typically to protect natural or cultural resources. Such marine resources are protected by local, state, territorial, native, regional, national, or international authorities and differ substantially among and between nations. This variation includes different limitations on development, fishing practices, fishing seasons and catch limits, moorings and bans on removing or disrupting marine life. In some situations, MPAs also provide revenue for countries, potentially equal to the income that they would have if they were to grant companies permissions to fish.

Barcelona Convention

The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, originally the Convention for Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, and often simply referred to as the Barcelona Convention, is a regional convention adopted in 1976 to prevent and abate pollution from ships, aircraft and land based sources in the Mediterranean Sea. This includes but is not limited to dumping, run-off and discharges. Signers agreed to cooperate and assist in dealing with pollution emergencies, monitoring and scientific research. The convention was adopted on 16 February 1976 and amended on 10 June 1995.

Territorial claims in the Arctic

The Arctic consists of land, internal waters, territorial seas, exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and high seas above the Arctic Circle. All land, internal waters, territorial seas and EEZs in the Arctic are under the jurisdiction of one of the eight Arctic coastal states: Canada, Norway, Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and the United States. International law regulates this area as with other portions of the Earth.

Exclusive economic zone of Portugal maritime boundary

Portugal has the 5th largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) within Europe, 4th largest of the EU and the 20th largest EEZ in the world, at 1,727,408 km2.

The South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) is an organization that maintains controls over fishing and fishing related acts in the Southeastern Atlantic Ocean.

Australia–Indonesia border international maritime border

The Australia–Indonesia border is a maritime boundary running west from the two countries' tripoint maritime boundary with Papua New Guinea in the western entrance to the Torres Straits, through the Arafura Sea and Timor Sea, and terminating in the Indian Ocean. The boundary is, however, broken by the Timor Gap, where Australian and East Timorese territorial waters meet and where the two countries have overlapping claims to the seabed.

Fishing industry in New Zealand

As with other countries, New Zealand’s 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone gives its fishing industry special fishing rights. It covers 4.1 million square kilometres. This is the sixth largest zone in the world, and is fourteen times the land area of New Zealand itself.

Environmental governance is a concept in political ecology and environmental policy that advocates sustainability as the supreme consideration for managing all human activities—political, social and economic. Governance includes government, business and civil society, and emphasizes whole system management. To capture this diverse range of elements, environmental governance often employs alternative systems of governance, for example watershed-based management.

Nairobi Convention international agreement about regional cooperation in conservation of the western Indian Ocean

The Nairobi Convention is a partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector, working towards a prosperous Western Indian Ocean Region with healthy rivers, coasts and oceans. It pursues this vision by providing a mechanism for regional cooperation, coordination and collaborative actions; it enables the Contracting Parties to harness resources and expertise from a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups; and in this way it helps solve inter-linked problems of the region’s coastal and marine environment.

Exclusive economic zone of Somalia maritime boundary

The exclusive economic zone of Somalia covers 830,389 km2 in the Indian Ocean. It extends to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines, from which the breadth of the nation's territorial waters is measured. In accordance with Law No. 37 passed in 1972, Somalia's EEZ falls under its territorial sovereignty.

Exclusive economic zone of Japan

Japan has the eighth largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world. The total area of Japan is about 377,973.89 km². Japan's EEZ area is vast and the territorial waters and EEZ together is about 4.48 million km².

References

  1. International Waters Archived 27 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine , United Nations Development Programme
  2. Text of CONVENTION ON THE HIGH SEAS (U.N.T.S. No. 6465, vol. 450, pp. 82–103)
  3. "What is the EEZ". National Ocean Service. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  4. "THE HIGH SEAS". Ocean Unite. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  5. UNCLOS article 92(1)
  6. UNCLOS article 105
  7. Carnaghan, Matthew; Goody, Allison (26 January 2006), Canadian Arctic Sovereignty, Library of Parliament , retrieved 16 December 2016
  8. 李侠. "学者:南海不存在公海 他国不能横行霸道_历史_环球网". Archived from the original on 22 April 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  9. Waslekar, Selim Catafago, Fadi Comair, Paul Salem, Sundeep. "The Blue Peace: Rethinking Middle East Water" . Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  10. http://strategicforesight.com/publication_pdf/20795water-cooperature-sm.pdf
  11. "International Freshwater Treaties Database". Transboundarywaters.orst.edu. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  12. "Yearbook of International Cooperation on Environment and Development". Archived from the original on 12 February 2009.
    Marine Environment
    Marine Living Resources
    Freshwater Resources
  13. "International Maritime Organization". Archived from the original on 26 October 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  14. "United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea". Un.org. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  15. "CIW" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  16. "Bellagio Draft" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  17. "Text of Ramsar Convention and other key original documents". Ramsar.org. Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  18. Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity especially Articles 12–13, as related to transboundary aquatic ecosystems
  19. "Regional Seas Program". Unep.org. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  20. "Convention for Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region; and Protocol (1981)". Sedac.ciesin.org. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  21. Lima Convention, 1986)
  22. Nairobi Convention, 1985);
  23. "Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes". Unece.org. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  24. "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area". Helcom.fi. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  25. "Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution" . Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  26. Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, 2003
  27. Convention for the Sustainable Management of Lake Tanganyika, 2003