Naval Blockade


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Naval Blockade

 

in international law, a system of measures undertaken during armed conflict. Its aim is to preclude the enemy’s access to a seacoast so that the enemy will be forced to relinquish the use of its own or occupied ports, naval bases, and shores with adjacent seawaters for commercial and all other maritime relations with other states. By declaring a naval blockade, the belligerent states attempt to cut off the maritime communications of a hostile state in order to weaken the enemy’s economic resources to the maximum and deprive it of the possibility of trading with neutral countries.

A naval blockade is not merely a particular method of struggle between belligerent parties; it is also a military measure that infringes upon the interests of nonbelligerent states insofar as its implementation obstructs the maintenance of communications with the blockaded region, and all attempts by ships to pass through to the blockaded point may end in their seizure by the blockading party.

Naval blockades are regulated by the rules of the declarations of Paris (1856) and London (1909) and by the customary norms of international law. In accordance with the Declaration of London of 1909, when a blockade is declared the date when it begins, the geographical boundaries of the blockaded shore, and the period of time in which neutral vessels are to leave blockaded ports must be indicated. Neutral states are to be notified of the declaration of a naval blockade through diplomatic channels.

In international law there is also the concept of a naval blockade carried out in peacetime as an enforcement action against a state that has violated norms of international law.

The UN Charter provides for a naval blockade as a possible collective measure to reestablish and maintain international peace and security; it is undertaken by decision of the UN Security Council. In all other cases, an armed blockade carried out first by one state against another is to be regarded as an act of armed aggression. According to the definition of aggression proposed by the USSR and confirmed in the Conferences of London of 1933, the state that first establishes a naval blockade of the shores or ports of another state must be recognized as the attacking party.

The norms of international law on blockades mentioned above have been grossly and repeatedly violated by the imperialist states. For example, in October 1962 the US Navy was ordered to intercept all ships bound for Cuba, subject them to examination, and prevent the passage of any vessel with arms defined as offensive by the American authorities. These actions by the USA constituted a gross defiance of the norms of international law and, in particular, the principles of the UN Charter. Waging an aggressive war in Vietnam, the USA organized so-called patrolling by the warships of the American Seventh Fleet in the South China Sea—that is, an illegal naval blockade of the shores of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was, in effect, set up.

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References in periodicals archive ?
The biggest downside of a naval blockade would be the possibility of an at-sea confrontation between US and allied warships and those of either China or Russia.
Although the blame for the tic-for-tac military operations could not be placed with certainty, the rocket attacks from Gaza re-enforced Israel's need for a naval blockade. It had to prevent terrorists from smuggling weapons into Gaza via the sea.
The POI alleges that Israel had a right to impose a naval blockade on Gaza in order to defend itself against Hamas rocket and mortar attacks.
"The naval blockade is often discussed in tandem with the Israeli restrictions on the land crossings to Gaza.
To avoid a repeat of similar incidents in the future, the panel recommended that all States should act with prudence and caution in relation to the imposition and enforcement of a naval blockade; the established norms of customary international law must be respected and complied with by all relevant parties; states maintaining a naval blockade must abide by their obligations with respect to the provision of humanitarian assistance; states enforcing a naval blockade against non-military vessels, especially where large numbers of civilian passengers are involved, should be cautious in the use of force.
Turkey had argued that the naval blockade was illegal and that Israel had no right to stop the ships in international waters.
Netanyahu said the new flotilla organized by several NGOs to reach the Gaza Strip in spite of the Israeli naval blockade a similar to the flotilla in June 2010 a is not a humanitarian mission.
Attorney General Eric Holder this week calling plans by pro-Palestinian activists to protest and potentially disrupt Israel's naval blockade of Gaza an "unacceptable provocation." An international group of activists opposed to the restrictions have announced plans to launch a flotilla this week to protest the naval blockade.
Israel warned foreign journalists on Sunday they could be barred from the country for 10 years if they board a new flotilla that plans to challenge an Israeli naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Reuters reported.
Relations hitan all-time low in May, when Israeli naval commandos killed nine activists from Turkey on board an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip that tried to breach Israel's naval blockade of the region.
"They said we were approaching an area under naval blockade and told us to change course," Shapira told AFP by satellite telephone, saying the boat was about 20 miles from the Gaza coast.

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