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The Law of the Sea Convention: No Place for Persons?

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AbstractThe article, adopting an innovative approach to the law of the sea, discusses the place and role reserved to persons in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) and the legal regime of which it is a part. The LOSC and other law of the sea agreements are examined, focussing on provisions that mention persons, their rights and their duties. Shortcomings identified include: the difficulty to configure persons as the beneficiaries of rights and the recipient of duties and the ensuing uncertain subjectivity of persons under the law of the sea; the presence of numerous gaps and inconsistencies in the existing legal regulation; the unavailability of mechanisms to address violations of duties by states. The conclusions draw attention to the potential of the LOSC and other treaties to further develop the international legal regime applicable to persons at sea and to provide an adequate place for persons in the law of the sea.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oxford Oxford United Kingdom, URL:


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