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Chapter 8. Out-of-Service Submarine Cables

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Chapter Summary

This chapter answers the question of what happens to submarine cables that are redundant or are out-of-service, and what are the legal requirements applicable to them under international law. Commercial considerations govern when a cable's status is changed from 'active' to 'out-of service'. In maritime zones under the sovereignty of the coastal State internal waters, territorial seas and archipelagic waters the laying of cables is subject to the consent of the coastal State. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) addresses the decommissioning of structures and installations, but essentially such installations and structures are constructed to enable the coastal State to exploit the natural resources on the seabed. Cables in maritime zones subject to the territorial sovereignty of the coastal State are subject to the laws and regulations of that State.

Keywords: archipelagic waters; coastal State; internal waters; international law; maritime zones; out-of-service submarine cables; seabed; territorial seas; UNCLOS



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