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Legal Protection for the Underwater Cultural Heritage: the Immediate Challenge and Methods of Response

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Chapter Summary

This chapter identifies and discusses mechanisms that are currently available to states for taking action to protect Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) located extra-territorially and to encourage states to make use of the mechanisms prior to such time as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Convention becomes effective global regime. Although it focuses on the exercise of jurisdictional rights to afford UCH with protection, it should be noted that the assertion of ownership rights by states can be a useful means of providing international benefit. Article 303(2) of UNCLOS provides a potentially very useful provision for controlling activities in contiguous zone. The Article 10(2) provides that States Parties have the right to prohibit or authorise any activity directed at UCH in their exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on continental shelf. The chapter provides a variety of means available to states to protect UCH beyond their territorial limits.

Keywords: Contiguous Zone; Continental Shelf; exclusive economic zone (EEZ); legal protection; territorial limits; underwater cultural heritage (UCH); UNESCO Convention



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