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6 The Strait of Messina and the Present Regime of International Straits

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Chapter Summary

The Strait of Messina is an example of the present concern by bordering States to regulate and restrict transit through international straits to prevent accidents which could have devastating effects for human health and the marine environment. It seems that Italy, after having succeeded in its effort to include in the UNCLOS a provision establishing non-suspendable innocent passage for Messina-like straits, realized that it was not enough and adopted more stringent measures than the UNCLOS would allow. The United States protested against the Italian unilateral action. Why does a State, which is a party to the UNCLOS, depart from it and why does a State, which is not a party to the UNCLOS, rely on it? The likely, quite controversial, answer may be that the UNCLOS regime does not give sufficient consideration to the vital interests of bordering States and that an evolutionary trend is developing toward a balanced regime.

Keywords: exclusive economic zone; international law; international navigation; marine environment; Strait of Messina; UNCLOS regime



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