Published on Nov 15, 2021
Law Optional writing practise solution
15/16 Nov| Very important Law optional mains question
15/16 Nov| Very important Law optional mains question

QUESTION | Discuss the rights and obligations of Coastal States and other States in the territorial waters and contiguous zone.

Importance of this question : Very important Law Optional mains question



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The United Nations Convention on Law of Seas, 1982 laid down the rights and duties of coastal and other States in the territorial waters and continuous zone. They are as follows:

1. Right to make laws to regulate the territorial sea. It can adopt laws to governing innocent passage.

2. It may be related to safety of navigation, protection of navigational aids, cables and pipelines, conservation of living resources of the seas, prevention of illegal fisheries, prevention of fiscal, customs, immigration and health offences, preservation fo coastal environment and marine scientific research.

As per Article 22 of the UNCLOS, in the interest of navigational safety of a coastal States many designate sea lanes and prescribe traffic separation schemes, particularly for tankers, nuclear-powered vessels and ships carrying hazardous substances.

Under Article 23, the nuclear powered ships and ships carrying nuclear or inherently dangerous or noxious substance shall while exercising the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea must carry documents and observe special precautionary measures established for such ships by international standards. Therefore, exercising right of innocent passage is not innocent per se.

The coastal states shall to deny the innocent passage for foreign ships. However, no discrimination are practices between between ships can be made. Also, the coastal State shall give appropriate publicity to any danger to navigation, of which it has knowledge, within its territorial sea. In the case of ships proceeding to internal waters or a call at a port facility outside internal waters, the coastal State also has the right to take the necessary steps to prevent any breach of the conditions to which admission of those ships to internal waters or such a call is subject.

The coastal State may, without discrimination in form or in fact among foreign ships, suspend temporarily in specified areas of its territorial sea the innocent passage of foreign ships if such suspension is essential for the protection of its security, including weapons exercises. Such suspension shall take effect only after having been duly published.

No charge may be levied upon foreign ships by reason only of their passage through the territorial sea. Charges may be levied upon a foreign ship passing through the territorial sea as payment only for specific services rendered to the ship. These charges shall be levied without discrimination.

Article 33 of the UNCLOS provides duties and rights in contiguous zone:

The zone contiguous to its territorial sea, described as the contiguous zone, the coastal State may exercise the control necessary to:

(a) prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea;

(b) punish infringement of the above laws and regulations committed within its territory or territorial sea.