Baltic Straits

Baltic Straits

 

(international law status), including the Store Bælt and Lille Bælt and the Øresund (Øre Sound) Strait, the only waterway connecting the Baltic Sea with the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The present status of the Baltic Straits takes into account the special legal status of its waters as international straits that are simultaneously the territorial waters of Denmark. Navigation through the Baltic Straits is controlled by international conventions and by special rules issued by Denmark. The Copenhagen Treaty, concluded in 1857 between Denmark and the states whose vessels regularly used the Baltic Straits (including Russia), established complete freedom of merchant shipping through the straits without the collection of any fees. Procedure for the passage of military vessels is defined in the Regulations for the Admission of Foreign Military Vessels and Aircraft Into Danish Regions Under Peacetime Conditions, adopted by Denmark in 1951. Prior diplomatic notification eight full days before is necessary for the passage of naval ships through the Lille Baelt. Passage through the Store Bælt and Øresund Strait is basically free. Notification is required only if the passage lasts more than 48 hours or if more than three vessels are to pass simultaneously. Submarines are to pass through the Baltic Straits only while surfaced. Since Denmark is a member of NATO, it does not extend these restrictions to the other members of this military bloc.

The question of the status of the Baltic Straits and particularly their closing for the naval forces of littoral states is of considerable importance in strengthening peace and security in this European region.

REFERENCES

Barabolia, P. D., L. A. Ivashchenko, and D. N. Kolesnik. Mezhdunarodno-pravovoi rezhim vazhneishikh prolivov i kanalov. Moscow, 1965.
Kurs mezhdunarodnogo prava, vol. 3. Moscow, 1967.
Voenno-morskoi mezhdunarodno-pravovoi spravochnik. Moscow, 1966.

D. N. KOLESNIK

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