100,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Font Size   A-    A+



The States Parties to this Convention,

  •   Prompted by the desire to settle, in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, all issues relating to the law of the sea and aware of the historic significance of this Convention as an important contribution to the maintenance of peace, justice and progress for all peoples of the world,

  •   Noting that developments since the United Nations Conferences on the Law of the Sea held at Geneva in 1958 and 1960 have accentuated the need for a new and generally acceptable Convention on the law of the sea,

  •   Conscious that the problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole,

  •   Recognizing the desirability of establishing through this Convention, with due regard for the sovereignty of all States, a legal order for the seas and oceans which will facilitate international communication, and will promote the peaceful uses of the seas and oceans, the equitable and efficient utilization of their resources, the conservation of their living resources, and the study, protection and preservation of the marine environment,

  •   Bearing in mind that the achievement of these goals will contribute to the realization of a just and equitable international economic order which takes into account the interests and needs of mankind as a whole and, in particular, the special interests and needs of developing countries, whether coastal or land-locked

  •   Desiring by this Convention to develop the principles embodied in resolution 2749 (XXV) of 17 December 1970 in which the General Assembly of the United Nations solemnly declared inter alia that the area of the seabed and ocean floor and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as well as its resources, are the common heritage of mankind, the exploration and exploitation of which shall be carried out for the benefit of mankind as a whole, irrespective of the geographical location of States,

  •   Believing that the codification and progressive development of the law of the sea achieved in this Convention will contribute to the strengthening of peace, security, cooperation and friendly relations among all nations in conformity with the principles of justice and equal rights and will promote the economic and social advancement of all peoples of the world, in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations as set forth in the Charter

  •   Affirming that matters not regulated by this Convention continue to be governed by the rules and principles of general international law



    The normal baseline is the low-water line along the coast as marked on large-scale charts official recognized by the coastal State. Special rules for determining the baseline apply in a variety of circumstances, such as with bays, ports, mouths of rivers, deeply indented coastlines, fringing reefs, and roadsteads. Consistent with these rules, the U.S. baselines are the mean of the lower low tides as depicted on the largest scale NOAA nautical charts. The U.S. normal baselines are ambulatory and subject to changes as the coastline accretes and erodes.


    Internal Waters

    Internal waters are the waters (for example, bays and rivers) on the landward side of the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. Each coastal State has full sovereignty over its internal waters as if they were part of its land territory. The right of innocent passage does not apply in internal waters.


    Territorial Sea

    Each coastal State may claim a territorial sea that extends seaward up to 12 nautical miles (nm) from its baselines. The coastal State exercises sovereignty over its territorial sea, the air space above it, and the seabed and subsoil beneath it. Foreign flag ships enjoy the right of innocent passage while transiting the territorial sea subject to laws and regulations adopted by the coastal State that are in conformity with the Law of the Sea Convention and other rules of international law relating to such passage.


    Continental Shelf

    Each coastal State has a continental shelf that is comprised of the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, or to a distance of 200 nm from its baselines where the outer edge of the continental margin does not extend up to that distance (or out to a maritime boundary with another coastal State).


    Wherever the outer edge of a coastal State's continental margin extends beyond 200 nm from its baselines, it may establish the outer limit of its continental shelf in accordance with Article 76 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The portion of a coastal State's continental shelf that lies beyond the 200 nm limit is often called the extended continental shelf.


    A coastal State has sovereign rights and exclusive jurisdiction over its continental shelf for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources. The natural resources of the continental shelf consist of the mineral and other non-living resources of the seabed and subsoil together with living organisms belonging to sedentary species, that is to say, organisms which, at the harvestable stage, either are immobile on or under the seabed or are unable to move except in constant physical contact with the seabed or subsoil.


    The U.S. has claimed a continental shelf that extends out at least 200 nm (Presidential Proclamation No. 2667 of September 28, 1945 and Presidential Proclamation No. 5030 of March 10, 1983). Since 2001, the U.S. has been engaged in gathering and analyzing data to determine the outer limits of its extended continental shelf.( Full Text )




    Over the centuries the international law of the sea had come to be based on the basic principle of "freedom of the seas". Beyond the narrow coastal strip of territorial waters, the seas could be freely used by all nations for fishing and for navigation. Coastal states used to be content with exclusive rights in their narrow belt of territorial waters.

    The discovery of petroleum and natural gas in the shallow waters of the continental shelf led the United States to issue the Truman Proclamation in 1945, which claimed sovereign rights over the resources of the continental shelf adjacent to its coast. Around the same time, coastal states found that the fishing areas near their coasts were being poached by larger and better equipped fishing ships of distant foreign states. Both these developments, combined with the emergence of newly independent states after the decolonisation of Asia and Africe, led to a spate of unilateral claims by the coastal states to extend national jurisdiction over large adjacent sea areas to protect their fishery resources.


    India's Extension of territorial Waters.

    On 12 September, 1967, India extended its territorial waters to twelve miles. This was largely a reaction to Pakistan's extension of her territorial waters from three to twelve miles, rather than an act of maritime policy.The Seabed Committee.

    During the 1960s political, technological, exonomic and naval developments began to change the situation. Advances in seabed exploitation technology made it possible to exploit the seabed much beyond a depth of two hundred metres, thereby rendering the 1958 Conventions outmoded. The deployment of submarine launched ballistic missiles and worldwide apprehensions of a competitive scramble to achieve predominant control over the seabed led the United Nations to discuss the need to evolve means for the peaceful use of the oceans. In 1968, the UN General Assembly constituted a 42 member "Seabed Committee" on the peaceful use of the seabed.

    In December 1970, the General Assembly adopted the "Declaration of Principles" governing the Seabed, the ocean floor and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. The Declaration stated that these areas and their resources are the common heritage of mankind and shall be subject to an international regime as established by an international treaty.Seabed Mining.

    India's interest in the mining of polymetalic nodules from the seabed derived from its long term strategy for metals like nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese. In the early 1970, the Indian Government had initiated a programme of scientific investigation and evaluation of the manganese nodule resources in the Indian Ocean.Offshore Oil and Gas.

    By the early 1970's, India had discovered oil and gas in Bombay High and promising fields were being forecast in the Godavari, Krishna and Palk Bay basins, as also gas in the Andaman Offshore.


    India has maritime boundaries with five opposite states (Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thiland) and two adjacent States (Pakistan and Bangladesh).

    Maritime boundary agreements were amicably concluded with:-

    (a) Sri Lanka in 1974 and 1976.

    (b) Indonesia in 1974.

    (c) The Maldives in 1976.

    (d) Thailand and Indonesia, on the trijunction point, in 1977.

    (e) Myanmar in 1982.

    Maritime boundary agreements with the adjacent states of Pakistan and Bangladesh have yet to be concluded. Meetings have been held with Bangladesh since 1976 and with Pakistan since 1986.

    (Full Text at Indian Navy Chapter 27)

    Holiday Packages

    Paradise Hut Kavaratti Island

    Suheli Island excursion

    Agatti Island Beach Resort

    Kadmat Island Beach Resort

    Samudram - Ship Tour

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player