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The three-mile limit refers to a traditional and now largely obsolete conception of the international law of the seas which defined a country's territorial waters, for the purposes of trade regulation and exclusivity, as extending as far as the reach of cannons fired from land.
In Mare Clausum (1635) John Selden endeavoured to prove that the sea was in practice virtually as capable of appropriation as terrestrial territory. As conflicting claims grew out of the controversy, maritime states came to modulate their demands and base their maritime claims on the principle that it extended seawards from land. A workable formula was found by Cornelius Bynkershoek in his De dominio maris (1702), restricting maritime dominion to the actual distance within which cannon range could effectively protect it. Most maritime nations adopted this principle, which developed into a limit of 3 nautical miles (5.6 km). It has also been suggested that the three-mile limit derived, at least in some cases, from the general application of the league (a common unit of measurement at sea) rather than from the range of cannon.
Since the mid-20th century, numerous nations have claimed territorial waters well beyond the traditional three-mile limit. Commonly these maritime territories extend 12 nautical miles (22 km) from a coastline, and this was eventually established as the international norm by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. As a result, the three-mile limit has become largely obsolete. As of 2007 [update] , only Gibraltar, Jordan, Palau, and Singapore retain it.
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 an 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 the quad-treaty 1958 Convention on the High Seas. 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.
In the United States, a territory is any extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters. The United States asserts sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory. This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government for administrative and other purposes. The United States total territory includes a subset of political divisions.
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 is a body of international law governing the rights and duties of states in maritime environments. It concerns matters such as navigational rights, sea mineral claims, and coastal waters jurisdiction.
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 sovereign 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.
The Northern Limit Line or North Limit Line (NLL) – 북방한계선 – is a disputed maritime demarcation line in the Yellow (West) Sea between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the north, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on the south. This line of military control acts as the de facto maritime boundary between North and South Korea.
James Shoal, also called Beting Serupai in Malaysia and Zengmu Reef / Zengmu Shoal / Tseng-mu An-sha in China and Taiwan, is an underwater shoal (bank) in the South China Sea, with a depth of 22 metres (72 ft) below the surface of the sea, located about 45 nautical miles off the Borneo coast of Malaysia. It is claimed by Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The shoal and its surrounds are administered by Malaysia.
The Malaysia–Singapore border is an international maritime border between the Southeast Asian countries of Malaysia, which lies to the north of the border, and Singapore to the south. The boundary is formed by straight lines between maritime geographical coordinates running along or near the deepest channel of the Straits of Johor.
Mare clausum is a term used in international law to mention a sea, ocean or other navigable body of water under the jurisdiction of a state that is closed or not accessible to other states. Mare clausum is an exception to mare liberum, meaning a sea that is open to navigation to ships of all nations. In the generally accepted principle of international waters, oceans, seas, and waters outside national jurisdiction are open to navigation by all and referred to as "high seas" or mare liberum. Portugal and Spain defended a Mare clausum policy during the age of discovery. This was soon challenged by other European nations.
Ambalat is a sea block in the Celebes sea located off the east coast of Borneo. It lies to the east of the Indonesian province of North Kalimantan and to the south-east of the Malaysian state of Sabah, and it is the subject of a territorial dispute between the two nations. Malaysia refers to part of the Ambalat block as Block ND6 (formerly Block Y) and part of East Ambalat Block as Block ND7 (formerly Block Z). The deep sea blocks contain an estimated 62,000,000 barrels (9,900,000 m3) of oil and 348 million cubic meters of natural gas. Other estimates place it substantially higher: 764,000,000 barrels (121,500,000 m3) of oil and 3.96 × 1010 cubic meters (1.4 trillion cubic feet) of gas, in only one of nine points in Ambalat.
The Argentine Sea is the name given to the sea within the continental shelf off the Argentine mainland. It lacks international recognition but is symbolically important to Argentina for consolidating the country's national unity behind the concept of Argentina Grande, an area that extends out to include the British South Atlantic islands and a section of the Antarctic continent.
The Arctic consists of land, internal waters, territorial seas, exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and international waters 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, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. International law regulates this area as with other portions of Earth.
The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is a peculiarity of the political geography of the United States. The OCS is the part of the internationally recognized continental shelf of the United States which does not fall under the jurisdictions of the individual U.S. states.
The borders of Malaysia include land and maritime borders with Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand and shared maritime boundaries with Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.
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.
A maritime boundary is a conceptual division of the Earth's water surface areas using physiographic or geopolitical criteria. As such, it usually bounds areas of exclusive national rights over mineral and biological resources, encompassing maritime features, limits and zones. Generally, a maritime boundary is delineated at a particular distance from a jurisdiction's coastline. Although in some countries the term maritime boundary represents borders of a maritime nation that are recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, maritime borders usually serve to identify the edge of international waters.
There are disputes between China, Japan, and South Korea over the extent of their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in the East China Sea.
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.
Australia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was declared on 1 August 1994 and extends from 12 to 200 nautical miles from the coastline of Australia and its external territories, except where a maritime delimitation agreement exists with another state. To the 12 nautical-mile boundary is Australia's territorial waters. Australia has the third-largest exclusive economic zone, behind France and the United States but ahead of Russia, with the total area of 8,148,250 square kilometres (3,146,060 sq mi), which exceeds its land territory.
The exclusive economic zone of North Korea stretches 200 nautical miles from its basepoints in both the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. The exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was declared in 1977 after North Korea had contested the validity of the Northern Limit Lines (NLL) set up after the Korean War as maritime borders. The EEZ has not been codified in law and North Korea has never specified its coordinates, making it difficult to determine its specific scope.