Territorial Waters

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territorial waters:

see waters, territorialwaters, territorial,
all waters within the jurisdiction, recognized in international law, of a country. Certain waters by their situation are controlled by one nation; these include wholly enclosed inland seas, lakes, and rivers.
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waters, territorial,

all waters within the jurisdiction, recognized in international lawinternational law,
body of rules considered legally binding in the relations between national states, also known as the law of nations. It is sometimes called public international law in contrast to private international law (or conflict of laws), which regulates private legal
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, of a country. Certain waters by their situation are controlled by one nation; these include wholly enclosed inland seas, lakes, and rivers. Control of boundary lakes and rivers extends to the middle of the navigable channel, but agreements to share the use of such waters and of waters that flow through several countries (e.g., the Rhine, the Danube) are common. When waters are almost completely bordered by one country, but lie along an international navigation route (e.g., the Bosporus), treaties often make them available to all ships.

Since the 18th cent. coastal states have been held to have jurisdiction over unenclosed waters for 3 nautical mi (3.45 mi/5.55 km) from the low water line, a measure originally derived from the distance of a cannon shot. In the case of a bay up to 24 mi (39 km) wide, a line drawn from one enclosing point to the other marked the outer limit of territorial jurisdiction. A broader zone of jurisdiction to combat smuggling has long been claimed by various states, as by the United States during prohibitionprohibition,
legal prevention of the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, the extreme of the regulatory liquor laws. The modern movement for prohibition had its main growth in the United States and developed largely as a result of the agitation of
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Merchant ships of all flags have the right of "innocent passage" in a nation's territorial waters; the rights of nonbelligerent foreign warships in this zone, and the extent of the jurisdiction of the coastal nation's courts over ships passing through and incidents in the zone, have long been matters of debate. Fishing and mineral extraction within the zone are entirely within the control of the coastal nation. In the 20th cent., coastal nations progressively widened their claims over offshore waters, especially in the face of competition from foreign fishing fleets and in anticipation of rich oil, gas, and mineral finds on the continental shelf. The UN-sponsored Law of the Sea treaty, which went into effect in 1994, codified territorial waters of 12 nautical mi (13.8 mi/22.2 km) and an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical mi (230 mi/370 km). In 1999, U.S. agencies were empowered by presidential proclamation to enforce American law up to 24 miles (39 km) offshore, doubling the previous limit.

Territorial Waters


(or territorial sea), a maritime zone bordering on the coast or inland waters of a country and constituting part of the country’s territory. The coastal country possesses sovereignty over the surface and depths of the territorial waters, as well as the airspace above them. Territorial waters are regulated by the 1958 Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone (ratified by the USSR on Oct. 20,1960) and by internal legislation of individual countries.

Territorial waters are marked off from the low-water line, either from the borders of inland waters or from baselines. International law does not permit the extension of territorial waters beyond 12 nautical miles. By 1975 about 100 countries had territorial waters extending up to 12 nautical miles. Twenty-two countries, taking advantage of the fact that the 1958 convention left open the question of the extent of territorial waters, unilaterally established wider territorial waters. For example, Brazil, Peru, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, and Ecuador have limits of 200 nautical miles. The USSR supports fixing 12-mile limits for territorial waters but at the same time is ready to recognize the sovereign right of a coastal country to prospect for and exploit fisheries and mineral resources in the sea zone contiguous to the territorial waters, which is called the economic zone. The regulation of these zones should, however, take into account the right of all countries, within the limits of such a zone, to the universally recognized freedoms of the high seas, including the freedom of navigation.

Ships of all countries have the right of innocent passage through territorial waters, provided that the conditions of the convention are observed—that is, the passage must not violate the security of the coastal country, submarines may pass through only if they are surfaced, and so on. A number of countries, including the USSR, have established that foreign military ships may pass through their coastal waters and enter inland waters only with advance permission from the government. The conduct by foreign ships of maritime trade and hydrographic work and research within territorial waters is forbidden by most countries, except under special arrangements.

References in periodicals archive ?
128) Although the contiguous zone was considered to be part of the high seas by the United States in 1958, (129) the latest proclamation of the United States government suggests that the contiguous zone is no longer part of the high seas and recognizes that UNCLOS represents international law on this subject.
The contiguous zone may extend up to 12 miles beyond the territorial sea (24 miles from the coast or the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured).
The two vessels were in the contiguous zone, adjacent to the territorial waters around the Japanese-controlled islet chain claimed by China, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.
The coast guard confirmed their presence in the morning in the so-called contiguous zone near the uninhabited islands, a major source of friction between Asia's two biggest economies.
Both sites lie within the general area of the English Channel but are outside the territorial waters or contiguous zone of any sovereign nation.
TOKYO -- Japan lodges a protest with China on Thursday after Chinese Navy ships entered a contiguous zone adjacent to what Tokyo considers its territorial waters in the East China Sea.
As I wrote last Sunday, the Philippine claim was begun by President Ferdinand Marcos when the Philippine delegation to the law of the sea conferences was able to convince the much more numerous 'coastal' states to agree to 1) the complicated 'archipelagic principles' in computing the baselines from which to measure the territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and extended continental shelves of 'mid-ocean' states, and 2) the much longer boundaries of these zones compared with the traditional 3-mile limit spelled out long ago by Hugo Grotius, the father of international law.
Countries can police their contiguous zone, adjacent to the disputed territory, for customs and immigration violations, but can't prevent passage by other nations' vessels.
UNCLOS prescribes the maritime entitlements of coastal states in terms of territorial sea, contiguous zone, 200-mile exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf.
The February 15 shooting incident, which took place in international waters off the Arabian Sea, is under investigation as it is said to have occurred within the Indian Contiguous Zone in southern India.
The three ships continued to sail in the contiguous zone just outside Japan's territorial waters.
The four vessels entered the so-called contiguous zone near the Japan-administered islands, claimed by China, at around 8:30 a.