- Law of the sea — High seas — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) — Exclusive economic zone
This chapter discusses the legal regime of the high seas. It first considers the law governing the high seas as a used space: its geographic extent and the core ‘freedoms’ all States enjoy there. It then considers the legal structures underpinning or qualifying those considerations of space and usage: how the law of the sea allocates regulatory authority over high seas activities, the meaning of the high seas being reserved for ‘peaceful purposes’, and the interaction of the high seas with other maritime zones. Next, it looks at the law of the high seas as regards shipping, including the duties of flag States, the law applicable to stateless vessels, and the vexed question of jurisdiction regarding collisions. The chapter concludes by examining questions of the ‘policing’ of the high seas (including the contemporary problems posed by maritime piracy, irregular migration, and weapons smuggling) and the current major challenges for the relevant legal regime.