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Rights of Passage and Marine Pollution

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Chapter Summary

International law recognises rights of passage for foreign ships through most maritime types of waters under a measure of national jurisdiction. The Territorial Sea Convention entered into force in 1964 and, by harmonizing the practice of States, it quickly brought greater clarity to the law, apart from the question of limits which remained controversial. The right of self-protection to intervene following an oil pollution disaster on the high seas was recognised and codified in a Convention adopted by a Diplomatic Conference convened under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The main sources of marine pollution remain the land and the rivers, but this tends to be overlooked because pollution from land-based sources is occurring all the time. In contrast, when shipping accidents do occur, they can be catastrophic and they invariably attract great attention in the public media.

Keywords: foreign ships; international law; International Maritime Organisation (IMO); marine pollution; rights of passage; Territorial Sea Convention

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