Laws of Sea Warfare

Laws of Sea Warfare

                          LAW OF SEA
- Bhagya Subhash


The sea is wherefrom the life has originated on the earth. Approximately, the ocean covers 70% of the Earth. With growing human population, the attempt to claim ocean has increased and thus laws to regulate human conduct in sea was much needed. In the course of history, there have been several wars to claim sea, the first battle of sea dateable is the ‘Battle of Delta’ which occurred in 1210 BC, but it was not until the beginning of twentieth century the
demand for law of naval warfare appeared.
According to Britanica, “Naval warfare” is the term used to denote “the tactics of military operations conducted on, under, or over the sea”. It is essentially concerned with involvement, authority, sovereignty of a country in world oceans. There are numerous international treaties regarding the sharing of jurisdiction amongst countries.

Laws on Sea

➢ The Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act, 1976 provides for the jurisdiction, powers and punishments for violations. Section 3 of the code provides the limit of territorial waters which is 12 nautical miles, Section 6 defines Continental Shelf, that is the extension of mainland into the sea, and Section 7 defines the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which provides exclusive rights for Indian government and other companies to carry out industrial activities. Section 11 and 12 provides for the punishments for violation under this act.

o There is an ongoing case between Italy and India, also known as Enrica Lexi case, where two marines from an Italian-flagged ship killed two fishermen from the State of Kerala in the EEZ claims India. The International Court of Justice have reduced the charge from murder to violence.

United Nations Law of the Sea Conventions:
The United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea was adopted in 1982. The UNO has worked and is working towards creating a peaceful, cooperative environment in order to facilitate the uses of sea and oceans for a country and its citizens as well. This convention was aimed at addressing ancient as well as new concerns regarding the sea, a total of 157 countries gave assent to this convention, the session took place regularly. UN General Assembly has declared seabed beyond national jurisdiction are common heritage.

• In 2015, the UN General Assembly pronounced that it will develop an international legally binding instrument under United Nations Convention of the Law of Sea on theconservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

• The United Nations Seabed Committee, banned nuclear weapons on the seabed in 1971, in a multilateral agreement between the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and 91 other countries. Disputes are an inevitable part of international relations and it is hardly deniable that, among international disputes, territorial disputes are the most complicated ones.

The South China Sea dispute: - 

The sea is common area between, China, Brunei, Vietnam, The Philippines, and Myanmar, According to China, the UN LOS convention the territorial jurisdiction is incorrect and it has drafted a ‘Nine-Dash line Territory’ which violates UN rules, UN and China have not came into a settlement yet. On 20 July 2011, the PRC, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam agreed a set of preliminary guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea which would help resolve disputes. Following the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the
South China Sea (DOC), China and ASEAN countries actively advanced the consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea," It is estimated that the COC will be completed by 2021. 

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