Law of the Sea Treaty: The Use of the World’s Seas

The law of the sea treaty is also known as Third United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea, UNCLOS III. The law was adopted in 1982 after it commenced in 1973. The law gives the definition of rights and responsibilities of nations regarding the use of the world’s seas. The treaty gives the guidelines on the usage of the sea as a natural resource in terms of the business and environmental management. The purpose of the treaty was to come up with a comprehensive rules governing the oceans and replacing the previous conventions of 1958 and that of 1961. The law gets its influence from a trade conference that was dabbed new economic order. The sea treaty advocated for fairer distribution of resources among the developed countries and the less or under developed countries. The treaty specifically advocates for transferring of technology and economic resources from the developed countries to the lesser developed countries. The treaty also sets out measures that guide all the sea users on environmental practices that are geared towards protection of the marine ecosystem (Blacksell, 2006).

United States ratification of the treaty could be of benefit in gaining rights to the territorial waters. Since the treaty establishes a territorial 12 mile limit as the jurisdiction a country can have from its sea shores. The treaty also establishes a 200 mile limit as the exclusive economic zone that a country bound by the treaty can utilize. This would enable United States to fully utilize economically its territories since the there is clarity over the boundaries.

It is indicated in (Blacksell, 2006) that United States would benefit by ratifying to the treaty by gaining access to mineral resources in the deep seas. There is a possibility of the proponents to the treaty will institute property rights for resources extraction, this would make the mineral extraction in the deep seas an elegant venture. If United States does not ratify the treaty it may loose out on oil resources that are projected to be in the Arctic ice.

Incase of disputes arising from abuse of the laws, United States would form part of the team steering for a resolution. Incase of infringement of another states rights the treaty offers mechanisms that are geared to preventing such occurrences from taking place. The treaty offers a country to claim resources extending beyond the economic boundary if it proves that the resources are an extension to the sea bed of their costal territory. If United States does not ratify the treaty it may be locked out of such claims and would not be protected against the extensions made by Russia on the North Pole.

The main reason why Unites States should not ratify to the treaty is that the sovereignty of the state will be compromised. Since the treaty establishes that resources should be shared among all the nations and the creation of an international seabed authority that oversees mineral and other resources exploitation. The arrangement that exploiters will have to relay on the authority means that United States is not autonomous as it depends or is under the authority of another body (Allen, 2008).

United States’ territorial integrity and political independence would be threatened by the treaty. This will lead to a change in the security or normality of good order. The treaty calls for innocent passage which is the passage of any ship in the territorial waters of another country just n the condition that it’s not a threat in whatever manner to the coastal country. The clause of innocent passage may be misused and used as a disguise by the enemies of United States (Byford, 2007).

United States should no ratify the treaty because the treaty is restrictive to the supply of world’ resources. The treaty requires exporter to apply for apply for license from the authority, this may delay exploitation on resources there by interrupting mineral supply. Although the treaty was initially set to protect the mining of the land locked countries, this section was abolished; any exploitation now would not affect such countries mining industry. The conditions attached to the mining consortium are not friendly to since they require it to pay application fee, annual operating fee and share the profits in an increasing manner. The consortiums have also to share the mining technology with other members to the treaty especially the developing countries. The whole process can limit delivery time and offer unnecessary delays which cause a negative impact to mineral supply (Leitner, 1996).

Finally as a form of conclusion, United State should sign up the treaty. The benefits are enormous other than the perceived risks. There is also some increasing pressure from relative concerned sectors that advocate for the ratification. The environmental fraternity, fishing community, oil and gas industry, shipping industry and the U.S. Navy are some of the sector players that have been pro to the signing due the enormous benefits they can derive from the treaty.

Reference List

Allen, J.L. (2008). Student Atlas of World Politics, (8th Ed) New York: McGraw Hill/Dushkin.

Blacksell Mark (2006). Political Geography. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

Byford Jennifer. (2007). Who’s who in public international law. Cambridge: Crestwall.

Leitner P. M. (1996). Reforming the law of the sea treaty: opportunities missed, precedents set, and U.S. sovereignty threatened. Lanham: University Press of America.

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