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Arctic Ocean Choke Points and the Law of the Sea

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Document pages: 25 pages

Abstract: As the international law of the sea has developed throughout the centuries, and there has been a growing acceptance of the legitimacy of a range of maritime zones, there has been a need to provide certainty with respect to the freedom of navigation through certain waters. The initial focus was to assure freedom of navigation in the territorial sea, and this saw the gradual recognition of innocent passage which guaranteed rights of navigation by foreign-flagged vessels. The innocent passage regime developed alongside expanding claims by coastal states to a broader territorial sea, and as long as expansive claims to a territorial sea were kept under check significant disruption to maritime traffic through straits used by international navigation was minimised. However, as the territorial sea regime became more accepted as a part of customary international law, and then was recognised in the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone, it was evident that the particular issues that arose concerning navigation through straits would have to be addressed.

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