Excessive Maritime Claims

Fourth Edition


State practice in the law of the sea has continued to evolve since publication of the 3rd edition of Excessive Maritime Claims in 2012. In this 4th edition, J. Ashley Roach has brought the text up to date, particularly as to the provisions relating to the balance of navigational rights and freedoms with the interests of coastal and island States. Of particular interest are the more detailed explanations of the phrase “freedom of navigation”; the expanded material on baselines and on the practice of archipelagic States, the revisions of the material on the continental shelf, on marine data collection, on submarine cables and pipelines, and US Ocean Policy. A new chapter has been added on islands and other maritime features.

This edition is dedicated to Dr. Robert W. Smith, the premier marine geographer.

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J. Ashley Roach, J.D., L.L.M., is a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps and the Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. State Department. He is the co-author of the third edition of Excessive Maritime Claims (Martinus Nijhoff, 2012).
"[T]he fourth edition maintains the high standard of its predecessors, and continues to be invaluable.…distils decades of diplomatic correspondence into a single source…replete with detail and very well researched. For scholars and practitioners with a serious interest in maritime claims, it is a must-have on the book shelf." -Stuart Kaye, in Ocean Yearbook 36, Brill Nijhoff, 2022
Preface to the Fourth Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Foreword to the First Edition
Figures, Tables, and Maps
Table of International Agreements
Table of Cases lxxv

part 1: Introduction

1 Maintaining Freedom of the Seas
 1.1 Introduction
 1.2 Freedom of the Seas
 1.3 Importance of Freedom of the Seas
 1.4 Excessive Maritime Claims
 1.5 US Freedom of Navigation Program
 1.6 Oppose to Avoid Acquiescence
 1.7 Importance of the FON Program
 1.8 The United States and the Law of the Sea
 1.9 Limitations of the Study

2 Identification of Excessive Maritime Claims
 2.1 Introduction
 2.2 Historic Bays
 2.3 Baselines
 2.4 Territorial Sea Breadth
 2.5 Contiguous Zones
 2.6 Exclusive Economic Zones
 2.7 Continental Shelves
 2.8 Archipelagos
 2.9 Innocent Passage in the Territorial Sea
 2.10 Straits Used for International Navigation
 2.11 Overflight Restrictions
 2.12 Archipelagic Sea Lanes Passage
 2.13 Navigation in EEZ s
 2.14 Marine Data Collection
 2.15 Submarine Cables and Pipelines
 2.16 Polar Areas
 2.17 Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH)
 2.18 Peaceful Purposes/Peaceful Uses of the Seas

part 2: Legal Divisions of the Oceans and Airspace

3 Historic Bays, Historic Waters and Historic Rights
 3.1 Criteria
 3.2 United States Waters/Bays
 3.3 Foreign Waters/Bays Considered Not to Be Historic
 3.4 Historic Waters/Bays Claims Rolled Back
 3.5 Historic Rights
 3.6 Settlement of Disputes

4 Baselines
 4.1 Introduction
 4.2 Normal Baseline
 4.3 Straight Baselines
 4.4 Other Baseline Rules
 4.5 Bays and Other Features
 4.6 Excessive Straight Baseline Claims
 4.7 Excessive Straight Baseline Claims Rolled Back
 4.8 Non-independent (Offshore) Archipelagos

5 Territorial Sea
 5.1 Maximum Permissible Breadth
 5.2 United States Policy
 5.3 Territorial Sea Claims
 5.4 Excessive Claims Rolled Back
 5.5 Territorial Sea Claims Greater than 12 Miles
 5.6 Territorial Seas Measured from Non-conforming Baselines

6 Contiguous Zone
 6.1 Juridical Regime
 6.2 Excessive Claims
 6.3 Excessive Claims Rolled Back

7 Exclusive Economic Zone
 7.1 Juridical Regime
 7.2 Status as Customary Law
 7.3 United States Policy
 7.4 Excessive Claims
 7.5 Special Areas

8 Continental Shelf
 8.1 Geologic Definition
 8.2 Juridical Definitions
 8.3 Rights and Duties
 8.4 Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 Miles
 8.5 Excessive Claims
 8.6 Continental Shelves Measured from Non-conforming Baselines

9 Archipelagos
 9.1 Archipelagic States
 9.2 Island-Mainland States
 9.3 Baselines
 9.4 Legal Status
 9.5 Excessive Claims
 9.6 Excessive Claims Rolled Back

9a Islands and Other Maritime Features
 9a.1 Definitions
 9a.2 Maritime Zones of Maritime Features
 9a.3 Maritime Features Subject to Appropriation
 9a.4 Distinguishing Rocks from other Islands
 9a.5 Disputes over High-Tide Features

part 3: Navigation and Overflight Rights and Duties

10 In the Territorial Sea
 10.1 Right of Innocent Passage
 10.2 Permissible Restrictions on Innocent Passage
 10.3 Excessive Restrictions on Innocent Passage
 10.4 Excessive Restrictions on Transport of Hazardous Waste
 10.5 Places of Refuge for Ships in Distress
 10.6 Assistance Entry

11 Straits Used for International Navigation
 11.1 Legal Regime
 11.2 Transit Passage
 11.3 Innocent Passage
 11.4 International Straits Not Completely Overlapped by Territorial Seas
 11.5 “Straits Used for International Navigation”
 11.6 Legal Status of Waters Forming International Straits
 11.7 Rights and Duties of States Bordering Straits and of Ships and Aircraft during Transit Passage
 11.8 Navigational Regimes of Particular Straits

12 Overflight Restrictions
 12.1 Juridical Regime
 12.2 Excessive Claims

13 Navigation and Overflight in Archipelagos
 13.1 Archipelagic Sea Lanes Passage
 13.2 Rights and Duties of Ships and Aircraft during Archipelagic Sea Lanes Passage and of Archipelagic States
 13.3 Innocent Passage
 13.4 Archipelagic Waters Not Claimed
 13.5 Excessive Claims
 13.6 Excessive Claims Rolled Back

14 Navigation in Exclusive Economic Zones
 14.1 Criteria
 14.2 Excessive Claims
 14.3 Transfer of Oil between Ships at Sea

15 Marine Data Collection
 15.1 Definitions
 15.2 Legal Regimes of MSR and Surveys under the 1958 Geneva Conventions
 15.3 Legal Regime of MSR under the LOS Convention
 15.4 Conduct of MSR under the LOS Convention
 15.5 US Marine Scientific Research Policy
 15.6 Role of the US State Department in MSR
 15.7 Coastal State Practice regarding MSR under the LOS Convention
 15.8 Value of the LOS Convention Today for MSR
 15.9 MSR Dispute Settlement Regime
 15.10 Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)
 15.11 Operational Oceanography Systems
 15.12 Coordination of Operational Oceanographic Programs
 15.13 Operational Oceanography Programs
 15.14 Data Collection Instruments
 15.15 Data Collection Platforms
 15.16 Operational Oceanography Summary
 15.17 Other Vessels Engaged in Marine Data Collection
 15.18 Marine Data Collection Summary

16 Submarine Cables and Pipelines
 16.1 Importance of Submarine Cables and Pipelines
 16.2 Legal Regime
 16.3 Other Protections for Submarine Cables and Pipelines
 16.4 Difficulties in Protecting Submarine Cables
 16.5 Excessive Claims
 16.6 Inadequate National Legislation
 16.7 Improvements to COLREGS

part 4: Recent Developments

17 Polar Areas
 17.1 The Two Polar Areas
 17.2 The Arctic
 17.3 Antarctica

18 Environmental Protection and Resource Conservation
 18.1 Introduction
 18.2 Environmental Protection
 18.3 Resource Conservation
 18.4 UN Efforts at Conservation and Development
 18.5 Summary

19 Sovereign Immunity and Sunken Ships
 19.1 Sovereign Immunity of Warships and Military Aircraft
 19.2 Sunken Warships and Military Aircraft
 19.3 Underwater Cultural Heritage
 19.4 Other Unresolved Questions
 19.5 Significance

20 Maritime Law Enforcement
 20.1 Maritime Law Enforcement
 20.2 International Maritime Crimes
 20.3 Maritime Law Enforcement Cooperation
 20.4 Treatment of Seafarers

part 5: The Future and Conclusions

21 The Future of US Ocean Policy
 21.1 Evolution of US Ocean Policy
 21.2 The “Other” Excessive Maritime Claims
 21.3 Implementation of US Ocean Policy
 21.4 Promulgation of Policy Guidance for Maritime Forces
 21.5 Development of Conventional International Law
 21.6 US Oceans Policy for the 21st Century


1 President’s Ocean Policy Statement, March 10, 1983

1A US Statement in Right of Reply, March 8, 1983

2 Proclamation 5030, Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States of America, March 10, 1983

3 Proclamation 5928, Territorial Sea of the United States of America, December 27, 1988

4 Proclamation 7219, Contiguous Zone of the United States, September 2, 1999

5 Joint Statement by the United States and Soviet Union, with Uniform Interpretation of Rules of International Law Governing Innocent Passage, September 23, 1989

6 Presidential Letter of Transmittal of the Law of the Sea Convention, October 6, 1994

7 Secretary of State’s Letter of Submittal to the President, September 23, 1994

8 Commentary – The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Agreement on Implementation of Part XI

9 Senate Executive Reports on the Law of the Sea Convention

10 Minority Report and Rebuttal

11 Table of Comparable Provisions 1958 Geneva Conventions and 1982 LOS Convention, Customary International Law

12 Evolution of the Modern Law of the Sea

13 Sources and Implementation of LOS Convention

14 US Arctic Policy

15 The Ilulissat Declaration, May 28, 2008

16 United States Maritime Law Enforcement Agreements (in Force or Signed Awaiting Entry into Force), and Understandings and Operational Procedures

17 Interdiction Principles for the Proliferation Security Initiative, September 4, 2003

18 Parties to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

19 US Maritime Boundaries
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