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Compulsory Pilotage In The Torres Strait

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Chapter Summary

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) establishes a comprehensive legal regime on the passage of ships, submarines, and aircraft through, under, and over straits used for international navigation. That regime applies when such straits connect one part of the high seas or an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to another part of the high seas or EEZ and are constituted at least in part of overlapping territorial seas. This chapter reviews whether compulsory pilotage in a strait used for international navigation is lawful under UNCLOS as a general matter, or specifically, as International Maritime Organization (IMO)-approved compulsory pilotage in the Torres Strait. It concludes that there is no basis in international law for a strait State to unilaterally impose compulsory pilotage in a strait used for international navigation, and that IMO approved only a recommendatory (vice compulsory) system of pilotage for the Torres Strait in 2005.

Keywords: compulsory pilotage; exclusive economic zone (EEZ); high seas; international maritime organization (IMO); international navigation; legal regime; territorial seas; Torres Strait; UNCLOS



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