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Transit Passage Through International Straits

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Chapter Summary

The Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) began in 1974 in Caracas, Venezuela, amid great fanfare and high expectations. Eight years later, after long negotiating sessions that alternated between New York and Geneva, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS Convention) was completed, and on 10 December 1982, 119 nations signed the document in Montego Bay, Jamaica. One of the central disputes among the countries negotiating this treaty concerned the width of the territorial sea, coastal State control of its adjacent off shore resources, and the navigational rights of commercial and military vessels to pass through straits and island archipelagos. The position of the maritime countries that all ships should have the right to unimpeded passage through international straits was largely adopted in Part III of the 1982 LOS Convention. This chapter discusses the specific rules that apply to individual straits.

Keywords: coastal State control; international straits; LOS Convention; navigational rights; transit passage

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