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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Internal Waters

Kaare Bangert

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 21 March 2023

Fisheries — Marine environment, protection — Sovereignty — Exclusive economic zone — Internal waters — Baselines — Delimitation — Ships / vessels — Territorial sea — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) — Territory, title

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law under the direction of Professor Anne Peters (2021–) and Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum (2004–2020). 

1Internal waters are generally defined in relation to the territorial sea as the waters inside the inner limit of the territorial sea. But internal waters can exist without a territorial sea, and a territorial sea can exist without internal waters. The concept comprises saltwater areas, as well as internal freshwater areas, such as rivers and lakes. Important areas of internal waters such as navigable rivers have often, however, been subjected to special regimes, eg the international rivers regime and the Kiel Canal, the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal. The term...
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