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UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION
ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

Signed at Montego Bay, Jamaica, 10 December 1982

Entry into force: 16 November 1994

The States Parties to this Convention,

Prompted by the desire to settle, in a spirit of mutual understanding and co-operation, all issues relating to the law of the sea and aware of the historic significance of this Convention as an important contribution to the maintenance of peace, justice and progress for all peoples of the world,

Noting that developments since the United Nations Conferences on the Law of the Sea held at Geneva in 1958 and 1960 have accentuated the need for a new and generally acceptable Convention on the law of the sea,

Conscious that the problems of ocean space are closely interrelated and need to be considered as a whole,

Recognizing the desirability of establishing through this Convention, with due regard for the sovereignty of all States, a legal order for the seas and oceans which will facilitate international communication, and will promote the peaceful uses of the seas and oceans, the equitable and efficient utilization of their resources, the conservation of their living resources, and the study, protection and preservation of the marine environment,

Bearing in mind that the achievement of these goals will contribute to the realization of a just and equitable international economic order which takes into account the interests and needs of mankind as a whole and, in particular, the special interests and needs of developing countries, whether coastal or land-locked,

Desiring by this Convention to develop the principles embodied in resolution 2749 (XXV) of 17 December 1970 in which the General Assembly of the United Nations solemnly declared inter alia that the area of the sea-bed and ocean floor and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as well as its resources, are the common heritage of mankind, the exploration and exploitation of which shall be carried out for the benefit of mankind as a whole, irrespective of the geographical location of States,

Believing that the codification and progressive development of the law of the sea achieved in this Convention will contribute to the strengthening of peace, security, co-operation and friendly relations among all nations in conformity with the principles of justice and equal rights and will promote the economic and social advancement of all peoples of the world, in accordance with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations as set forth in the Charter,

Affirming that matters not regulated by this Convention continue to be governed by the rules and principles of general international law,

Have agreed as follows:

PART I

INTRODUCTION

Article 1
Use of terms and scope

1. For the purposes of this Convention:

  1. "Area" means the sea-bed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof beyond the limits of national jurisdiction;
  2. "Authority" means the International Sea-Bed Authority;
  3. "activities in the Area" means all activities of exploration for, and exploitation of, the resources of the Area;
  4. "pollution of the marine environment" means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment, including estuaries, which results or is likely to result in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources and marine life, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities, including fishing and other legitimate uses of the sea, impairment of quality for use of sea water and reduction of amenities;
    1. "dumping" means:
      1. any deliberate disposal of wastes or other matter from vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea;
      2. any deliberate disposal of vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea
    2. "dumping" does not include:
      1. the disposal of wastes or other matter incidental to, or derived from the normal operations of vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea and their equipment, other than wastes or other matter transported by or to vessels, aircraft, platforms or other man-made structures at sea, operating for the purpose of disposal of such matter or derived from the treatment of such wastes or other matter on such vessels, aircraft, platforms or structures;
      2. placement of matter for a purpose other than the mere disposal thereof, provided that such placement is not contrary to the aims of this Convention.
2.
  1. "States Parties" means States which have consented to be bound by this Convention and for which this Convention is in force.
  2. This Convention applies mutatis mutandis to the entities referred to in article 305, paragraph 1(b), (c), (d), (e) and (f), which become Parties to this Convention in accordance with the conditions relevant to each, and to that extent "States Parties" refers to those entities.

Previous
Convention on the Law of the Sea: Index
Parts: I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - VIII-IX - X - XI - XII - XIII - XIV - XV - XVI - XVII
Annexes: I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - VIII - IX
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