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Comment the Contiguous Zone as a Mechanism for Protecting the Underwater Cultural Heritage

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Chapter Summary

The contiguous zone was institutionally recognized for the first time in the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone (TSC). The LOS Convention provided that the jurisdiction of the coastal State would also apply in the case of the protection of underwater cultural heritage. This chapter discusses coastal state jurisdiction over underwater cultural heritage in the contiguous zone as envisaged by the LOS Convention. In addition, it examines the related issue of whether the exercise of such jurisdiction presupposes the declaration of a contiguous zone or it applies automatically. Article 303(2) is of interest for the purposes of the current analysis, as it refers indirectly but clearly to the contiguous zone. As at 26 August 2005, 74 States had adopted 24-mile contiguous zones compatible with the LOS Convention, including the USA, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and more recently Denmark.

Keywords: 1958 Geneva Convention; Article 303(2); contiguous zone; LOS Convention; TSC; underwater cultural heritage



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