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Submarine Operations and International Law

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Chapter Summary

Submarine operations are dealt with in the 1936 London Protocol on Submarine Warfare and, marginally, in certain provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). At first glance, international law has not kept pace with technological development or with the increased importance of the submarine for a variety of security and defence purposes. In many cases the desire to control the methods and means of warfare by explicit regulation is quite understandable. In this discussion it will be asserted that in order to analyse the law applicable to submarine operations it is not necessary to gain knowledge of technical details. Furthermore, it will become evident that the whole spectrum of contemporary submarine operations is governed by rules that, on the one hand, limit such operations and, on the other, are flexible enough to enable modern naval forces to perform effectively their various tasks.

Keywords: international law; submarine operations; submarine warfare; UNCLOS



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