Introduction and Background
            Over the years, there have been series of agreement and understandings dealing with the sharing of the resources of the sea, its general usage and other international worker. The law of the sea is not as rigorous or chequred as the laws of non and aimed conflict but both have worked together to create a more tranquil and more accessible international environment.
            The 1979 UN convention on the law of the sea was the most comprehensive agreement reached on the law of the sea. Its success was the result of decades of conferences and actions on the issues which started long before the UN itself was created. The laws of the sea again has its roots on the arguments of Hugo Grotims. It was agreed that there ought to be freedom on the high seas and as such there must be races guarding and preserving the existence of this freedom. These agreements were based on the following principles:

1.         The high sea can never come under the sovereignty of one part in law state as against what has been attempted in the past.
2.         There is absolute freedom of navigation on the high sea for vessels of all nations whether worships or merchant ships.
3.         In general terms, no state may exercise jurisdiction over the ship on the high sea which does not bear ha flag.
4.         A state may, as a general rule, exercise jurisdiction over a particular ship only by virtue of the ship flying its national flag.
5.         Every state and her citizens are entitled to make use of the high sea for laying submarine cables and oil pipelines for the conduct of fisheries and for scientific and technological purposes.
6.         There is an absolute freedom of flight above international waters for all aircraft.
7.         The resources of the high sea belongs to all states, though not all states has the capacity N one time to exploit the resources of the high seas.

Innocent and Non Innocent Passage
With the territorial sea, the state is supposed to have exclusive territorial jurisdiction, but the right of passage for others must be guaranteed. This is the right of free navigation through the territorial sea of another state. This is called innocent passage when such navigation is intended purely for the purpose of :
1.         Entering the sea without entering internal waters of calling of a road stead or ports facilities outside international waters.
2.         Proceeding to or from international waters or a call at such roadstead or ports facility.
3.         Innocent passage exists as long as it sis not prejudicial to the peace, good order and security of the coastal state.
The convention went ahead to identify what could constitute a non-innocent passage. These include:
1.         Any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the coastal state.
2.         Any exercise or practice with weapons of any kind.
3.         Any act aimed at collecting information to the prejudice of the defense or security of the coastal state.
4.         Any act of propaganda aimed at affecting the defense or security of a coastal state-acts of espionage.
5.         Launching, landing or taking on board of any aircraft intended for hostile purposes.
6.         Launching, landing or taking on board of any military device.
7.         any act of willful and serious pollution contrary to the rules of the convention.
8.         Any unauthorized fishing activity.
9.         Any act aimed at interfering with any system of communication or other facilities of interest to the coastal state.

Jurisdiction over a Foreign Ship: The coastal state, with reference to criminal jurisdiction, is not expected to extend its jurisdiction over passing ships, the coastal state has some conditions over which it may want to extend its criminal jurisdiction over a foreign ship which is supposed to be engaged in non-innocent passage. The UN convention of 1958 provides that  a state has the right to know whether a passing ship is carrying any vacotics or psychotropic substances considered injurious to the coastal state or which generally contravenes international law if.
1.         The consequences of the crime extends to the coastal state.
2.         The crime is of such a kind that would disturb the peace and good order of the coastal state
3.         The captain of the ship invites the authorities of the coastal state for whatever reason
4.         It is necessary for the coastal state to intervene if order to stop illicit deal or drug trafficking
5.         It violates the regulations of the coastal state in which care the coastal state may request it to go back.
6.         The ship is engaged in illicit activity of any sort that constitutes a breath of international laws.

The contiguous zone, straits and canal: the contiguous zone is a continuation of the territorial waters of the coastal state. It may not extend beyond 24 nautical miles from the base line from which the breath of the sea is measured. 12 nautical miles is the agreed length of the territorial  waters although some states may shorten it but it must not go beyond 12 nautical miles
Straits- a strait is a piece of water between two land areas. It is different from a canal. A strait is natural but a canal can be manmade. Right of passage through a strait are similar to those of high seas. Straits are not territorial water and cannot be divided by states. It also cannot be appropriated.
Canal -canal is an artificial passage trench of water purposely created by man. Right to passage is subject to the permission of the coastal state or states which has control over the canal. Canals are created for the purpose so commerce, military uses and other maritime activities. The seek canal in Egypt is a good example

The Archipelagic State- This is a state constituted wholley by one or more archipelagos, that is a group of islands and inter connecting waters and other natural features which are so closely inter related that such islands and other natural features form an intrinsic geographically economic and political entity or which historically has been regarded as such. Some states may fall within this definition but would opt not to declare themselves as such. This is the case with Britain and Japan. All water within the state has sovereignty but existing agreements, traditional fishing rights and existing submarine cables must be respected. In addition, ships of all states shall enjoy the rights of innocent passage through archipelagic waters and all ships and aircraft are to enjoy a right of archipelagic sea lanes passage through such lanes and air routes designated by the archipelagic state for continuous and expeditious passage.

The exclusive economic zone (EEZ): 
The exclusive economic zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea subject to the specific legal regime established in the convention under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal states and rights and freedom of other states are recognized. The eel shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the base lines from which the breath of the territorial sea is measured. One of the major reason for the 200 miles exclusive economic zone was the controversy over fishing zones and the exploitation of other sea resources. 

The rights, jurisdiction and duties of coastal states over EEZ
Articles 55-57 of UNCLOS provides the following:
1.         the coastal state has sovereign right for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, preserving and management the natural resources whether living or non living of the waters separjacent to the sea bed and of the sea bed and its subsoil and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone such as the production of energy from the water, current and winds.
2.         the coastal state has jurisdiction with reference to the establishment and use of artificial islands installations and structures as well as conducting marine and scientific research.
3.         it also protects and preserves the marine environment within 200 nautical airless radius.
4.         in exercising this right, the coastal state shall have regard to the rights and duties of other states.
5.         conflicts are to be  resolved on the basis of equity and in the light of all relevant circumstances.
In the    Eez, all states whether coastal or land locked enjoy the freedom of navigation and over flight and of laying of submarine cables and pipelines and other internationally lawful uses of the sea related to these freedoms such as these associated with the operation of ships, aircrafts and submarines cables and pipelines and compatible with the various provisions of the convention. These are to be worked out through agreements.
            In exercising their rights and performing their duties in the EEZ, states shall have due regard for the rights and duties of the coastal states and shall couly with laws and regulations adopted by the coastal states in accordance with the provisions of the convention.
            Within the EEZ, the coastal state is to have exclusive right to construct and authorize or regulate the construction operation and use of artificial islands, installations and structures provided for in the convention, relevant for achieving economic purposes and also ensuring the exercise of right by other states which will not interfere with the interest of the coastal states. The coastal states may, where necessary, establish reasonable safety zones around artificial islands, instillations and structures, and may take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of navigation and of the artificial islands and structures.

The conservation of living resources
In conserving the living resources of the sea, the convention provides as follows:
1.         Coastal states shall determine the “allowable catch” of the living resources in its EEZ
2.         The coastal state, taking into account, the best scientific evidence available to it shall ensure, through proper conservation and management, measures that the maintenance of living resource in the EEZ is not enlarged by over exploitation.
3.         Such measures shall also be designed to maintain or restore population of the harvested species of levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yields as qualified by relevant environmental and economic factors including the economic needs of coastal fishing communities and the special requirements of developing states and taking into account fishing patterns, interdependence of stocks and any generally recommended international maximum standards whether sub-regional, regional, continental or universal.

Utilization of living resources in the EEZ
The coastal states shall promote the objective or optimum utilization of the living resources in the EEZ. It shall also determine its own capacity to harvest the resources of the EEZ. When the coastal state does not have the capacity to harvest the entire allowable catch, it shall through agreements or other arrangements give other states access to the samples of the allowable catch having particular regard to the provision of the conventions dealing with the right of land. Locked states and geographically disadvantaged states.
            In giving access to other states to the EEZ. The coastal states shall take into account all relevant factors including inter alia, the significance of the resources of the area to the economy of the coastal state convened and its other national interest as well as the interest of land locked and geographically disadvantaged states in addition to the requirements of developing states in the region in harvesting part of the surplus and the need to minimize economic dislocation in states whose nationals have habitually dished in the zone or which have made substantial efforts in research and identification of stock.

The resources of the sea as a common human heritage:- This concept holds that the entire resources of the sea belongs to the entire Humanity and that no state irrespective of ability or geographical location should be denied the right to benefit from this free gift of nature.
            Under the provisions of UNCLOS, land-locked states and geographical disadvantaged areas are guaranteed that right to participate on an equitable basis in the exploitation of an appropriate part of the surplus of the living resources of the EEZ of coastal states of the same region or sub region. This must take into account the relevant economic and geographical circumstances of all the states conceived. The terms and modalities of such participation shall be established by the states concerned through bilateral agreements. Further taking into account such factors as
1.         The need to avoid effects detrimental to the fishing communities or fishing industries of the coastal state.
2.         The extent to which the land locked states is participation or is entitled to participate under existing agreements in the exploitation of living resources of the EEZ of other coastal states.
            The right of land locked and geographically disadvantaged areas to benefit from the resources of the sea is premised on the understanding that the resources of the sea is a free gift if nature intended by God to serve the common good of all humanity.

Land locked states
Land locked states are states that do not have direct access to the sea. Such states cannot be denied the one of the sea. Article 3 or the 1950 Geneva convention on the High seas provided that states having no sea coast are entitled to have free access to the sea in order to enjoy freedom of the seas on equal terms with coastal states. Article 125 of the 1982 convention on the law of the sea provided as follows:
1.         Land – locked states shall have the right of access to and from the sea for the purpose of exercising the rights provided for in this convention including those relting to the freedom of the high seas and the common heritage of mankind. To this end,. Land-locked states shall enjoy freedom of transit through the territory of transit states by all means of transport.
2.         The terms and modalities for exercising freedom of transit shall be agreed between the land. Locked states and the transit state concerned through bilateral, sub regional or regional agreements.
3.         Transit states, in the exercise of their full sovereignty ever their territory, shall have the right to take all measures necessary to ensure that the rights and facilities provided for in this part for land-locked states shall in no way infringe their legitimate interests.
            The convention also provides that ships flying the flog of landlocked states shall enjoy equal treatment with other foreign ships in narrative ports. Again, chips of all states, whether coastal states or land locked states, have the right of innocement passage in the territorial sea and freedom of navigation in the waters beyond the territorial sea.
            The convention further noted that landlocked states have the right to participate upon an equitable basis in the exploitation of an appriate part of the surplus of the living resources of the economic zones of coastal states provided the terms and modalities for such participation are worked out through bilaterate or regional agreements.
The Principle of hot  pursuit
This involves going after a ship or pursuing a ship in the high sea for violating the law of the sea or the law of the coastal state. The principle of hot pursuit is a legal condition designed to ensure that a vessel.
1.         Which has infringed the rules of a coastal state cannot escape punishment by fleeing to the high seas. This mend that under certain conditions, a coastal state may extend its jurisdiction onto the high sees in order to pursue a ship which is suspected of committing a crime. Article III of the 1982 convention notes that a hot pursuit many commence when the authorities of the coastal state have good reasons to believe that the foreign ship has violated its laws. Hot pursuit only beings when the pursuing ship hs satisfied itself that the ship being pursued is within limits of the territorial sea of in the contiguous zone or economic zone or the continental shelf. Before a pursuit begins, a visual or auditory signed to stop must be given failure of which the pursuit may commence. The pursuit commonly to undertaken by worships or military aircrafts authorized by the government for such purpose. The pursuit must be uninterrupted, that is it must remain a non stop, non interrupted exercise until it fails o succeeds. The aim here is to avoid treachery. The right of hot pursuit cease as soon as the ship being pursued enters the territorial waters of its own state or that of another state. The Article further recommends that in hot pursuit, care mush be taken to use minimum force in order to avoid necessary casualties.

The high Seas
            During the 15th and 16th centuries, the closed sea concept was proclaimed by Spain and Portugal dividing the seas of the world between the two great powers. This proclamation was supported by the papal bulb of 1493. the closed sea concept was replaced by the notion of the open seas and the concomitant freedom of the high seas during the 18th century.
            The freedom of the high seas connotes that no state may acquire sovereignty over the high seas or any part thereof. Te High seas were defined in article I of the 1958 Geneva Convention on the High seas as all parts of the sea that were not included in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a state.
Article 87 of the 1982 convention provides that the high seas are open to all state and that the freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down in the convention and by other rules of international law. Such uses include the freedom of navigation, over flight, the laying of submarine cables, pipelines, the construction of artificial islands firing and scientific research, and other installations permitted under interventional law.
            The 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons on the high seas although this has been  frequently violated by some states. Article 88 of the 1982 convection provides that the high seas shall be reserved or peaceful purposes.

The concept of piracy is a serious subject under international law. It is also a very old problem involving armed robbery, threats and dangers constituted by bandits  to civilian shipping and general commerce on the high seas according to Article 15 of the 1958 conventions on the high seas, piracy consists of any of the following acts6.
Any illegal acts of violence, detention or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of aspirate ship or private aircraft and directed (a) on the high seas against another ship or aircraft, persons or property in a place onside the jurisdiction of any state.
2.         Any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pivate ship or aircraft.
3.         any act of inciting or intentionally facilitating an act described a piracy.
            Article 15 of the 1958 convention provides that a pirate is subject to arrest, trial and punishment by all states on the grand’s that he represents an enemy of mankind. The vessel involved in privacy is subject to seizure as well as all the property on board. The courts of the state carrying out the seizure have jurisdiction to impose penalties, and may decide what action to take regarding the ship or aircraft and property on board. It there are third parties  acting in good faith, the rights of such parties must be respected.
            Privacy by a work ship or aircraft or government ship or aircraft whose crew has mutinied and taken control of the ship are equated to acts committed by private persons, ship or aircraft words any hijacking or take over for political reasons is excluded form the definition of piracy. Similarly, any acts committed on the ship by the crew and aimed of the ship itself or property or persons on the ship do not constitute piracy.
            When the seizure of ship or air craft on suspicion of piracy had been effected without and equate grounds, the state making the seizure shall be liable to the state, the nationality of which in possessed by the ship or aircraft for any loss or damage caused by the seizure. The seizure on account of privacy may be carried out only by warships or military aircrafts or other ships or aircrafts clearly marked and identifiable as being on government service and authorised to that effect.
Share on Google Plus


The publications and/or documents on this website are provided for general information purposes only. Your use of any of these sample documents is subjected to your own decision NB: Join our Social Media Network on Google Plus | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin