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Chapter 25. Evaluating Canada’s Position on the Northwest Passage in Light of Two Possible Sources of International Protection

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on two key international tools which are often invoked in such discussions: Article 234 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) and the designation by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) of marine area as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), though a number of rules and mechanisms are identified as possible sources of protection for Canada's North. Canada acted to consolidate its legal position by drawing straight baselines connecting the outer headlands of its Arctic archipelago. The Revised Guidelines for the Identification and Designation of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas adopted by the IMO in 2005 acknowledge that with increase in global trade and shipping activities, there is greater potential for adverse effects and damage to the marine environment. The reaction in some quarters to Australia's Torres Strait scheme must be a red flag for Canada in regards to the Northwest Passage.

Keywords: arctic archipelago; Canada; International Maritime organization (IMO); LOSC; particularly sensitive sea area (PSSA)



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