Territorial Waters

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Territorial Waters

The part of the ocean adjacent to the coast of a state that is considered to be part of the territory of that state and subject to its sovereignty.

In International Law the term territorial waters refers to that part of the ocean immediately adjacent to the shores of a state and subject to its territorial jurisdiction. The state possesses both the jurisdictional right to regulate, police, and adjudicate the territorial waters and the proprietary right to control and exploit natural resources in those waters and exclude others from them. Territorial waters differ from the high seas, which are common to all nations and are governed by the principle of freedom of the seas. The high seas are not subject to appropriation by persons or states but are available to everyone for navigation, exploitation of resources, and other lawful uses. The legal status of territorial waters also extends to the seabed and subsoil under them and to the airspace above them.

From the eighteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, international law set the width of territorial waters at one league (three nautical miles), although the practice was never wholly uniform. The United States established a three-mile territorial limit in 1793. International law also established the principle that foreign ships are entitled to innocent passage through territorial waters.

By the 1970s, however, more than forty countries had asserted a twelve-mile limit for their territorial waters. In 1988 President ronald reagan issued Executive Proclamation 5928, which officially increased the outer limit of U.S. territorial waters from three to twelve miles (54 Fed. Reg. 777). This limit also applies to Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Reagan administration claimed the extension of the limit was primarily motivated by national security concerns, specifically to hinder the operations of spy vessels from the Soviet Union that plied the U.S. coastline. Another reason for the extension was the recognition that most countries had moved to a twelve-mile limit. In 1982, at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, 130 member countries ratified the Convention on the Law of the Sea, which included a recognition of the twelve-mile limit as a provision of customary international law. Although the United States voted against the convention, 104 countries had officially claimed a twelve-mile territorial sea by 1988.


Law of the Sea; Navigable Waters.

References in periodicals archive ?
According to this discussion, the passages are part of the territorial seas of the state or states that control those bodies of land.
the sovereignty acquired over the territorial seas was the right and power to govern that part of the globe .
of existing technology, and the extent to which territorial seas and
Both nations may gain by pressing forward with expanded cooperation, especially considering Cuba's location in the Caribbean, and the potential for the island and its territorial seas to be utilized for drug transshipments to the United States.
Moreover, prior to and subsequent to the adoption of UNCLOS military forces have routinely conducted military activities seaward of the twelve-nautical-mile territorial sea without coastal-state notice or consent.
8) In fact, the two disputes are inextricably intertwined with each other because the maritime delimitation concerns the issue of which country may have the right to use the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands as the baseline of its territorial sea delimitation.
Second, as to the areas beyond the territorial seas of coastal states, regional cooperation is more essential than within territorial seas.
The Treaty complements the first two treaties, namely the Treaty between the Republic of Singapore and the Republic of Indonesia Relating to the Delimitation of the Territorial Seas of the Two Countries in the Strait of Singapore, which was signed on 25 May 1973 and entered into force on 29 August 1974, and the Treaty between the Republic of Singapore and the Republic of Indonesia Relating to the Delimitation of the Territorial Seas of the Two Countries in the Western Part of the Strait of Singapore, which was signed on 10 March 2009 and entered into force on 30 August 2010.
6) Over the past twenty years, European states have developed this practice by striking deals with African nations to support maritime interdictions in their territorial seas.
territory within its borders or territorial seas and there are no sovereign rights with respect to the shelf "for purposes other than .
As many fall within existing territorial seas or, as Beijing has argued, form part of larger archipelagos whose sovereign status is contested, determining their nature - island, rock or low-tide elevation - is a legal and political minefield.
The US military conducted multiple operations targeting China over what Washington believes are "excessive" claims about its maritime boundaries and its effort to force foreign warships to obtain permission before peacefully transiting its territorial seas.