December 10, 2012 marks the 30 years since the opening for signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This date is an opportunity to anniversary celebrations, meetings, panels and reflection in the whole United Nations system. Thepassage of time does not deprive the meaning of the Convention on the contrary, confirms its fundamental role as the constitution of the law of the sea. Nevertheless, changes which take place in the world require further development of the law of the seaand adjustmentof the Convention to new challenges. These challenges are related to the adoption in international law the concepts of sustainable development, protection of biodiversity, the precautionary principle and ecosystem approach. They are also a consequence of climate change and the need to regulate the rules of access to and use of marine genetic resources. Among the many roads and ways of developing the law of the sea worth mentioning is an idea of preparation approved by RIO+20 of an implementation agreement to the Convention on conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The Arctic Ocean, which emerges from melting ice, promises access to and exploitation of natural and biological resources and exploration of new shipping routes, but also brings new hazards to the environment. The article analyses freedom of fishing in the open sea in light of international law. The author discusses rules on fishing within open sea enclaves, namely Barents Sea Loophole and Bering Sea Donut Hole. The Greenpeace is campaigning to establish a natural sanctuary in the Arctic Ocean and introduce a strict prohibition on commercial exploitation of natural resources, including on fishing, and imposition of certain limitations on naval activity. This idea was endorsed by the European Parliament in their resolution of 12 March 2014 on the EU Strategy for the Arctic (2013/2595(RSP)). Finally, the article reviews negotiations between five arctic states and their initially agreed positions on commercial fishing in the open sea in the central Arctic Ocean (the Nuuk Meeting, February 2014).
The article goes into the seldom discussed topic of offshore installations, such as oil platforms. The author categorizes these structures and discusses legal issues surrounding them, namely regarding mobile platforms as vessels, the international status of artificial islands, and the questions of jurisdiction. The article also touches on legality of construction of such installations, safety zones, hot pursuit and removal of decommissioned structures. The author points that the key deficiency in maritime law is the absence of international convention on liability for pollution damage from oil rigs.
Climate change and the warming of the Arctic opens up new possibilities for the development of international shipping in the region. Currently, there are two routes shortening considerably the distance between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean compared to current connections through the Panama Canal and Suez. One of these routes is called the Northwest Passage runs through the Canadian Archipelago and the other Northern Sea Route runs along the coast of Siberia. Using them provides significant reduction of travel time, giving savings in fuel consumption and therefore means less greenhouse gas emissions. Are the legislative regulations on the status of these sea routes taken by Canada and Russia in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982? Can they be qualified as internal waterways? Does the use of straight lines to determine baselines and territorial sea boundary is consistent with the Convention? Is the threat to the marine environment sufficient to justify the restriction of freedom of navigation in the exclusive economic zone? Serious doubts raises too far-reaching interpretation art.234. Positions taken by Canada and Russia have been criticized by the U.S. and the European Union. The international navigation in the Arctic, including opening up the long-term possibility of a new passage through the North Pole is not amatter to be decided exclusively by coastal states, it is a matter of concern to the whole international community. It is the global issue in which regulation, in cooperation with IMO, should participate all States, including particularly interested Asian countries.
The study addresses the challenges facing the law of the sea. Although UNCLOS is rightly described as a constitution of the law of the sea, it does not and cannot give answers to all problems and doubts that arise in practice and that are related to global warming, protection of biodiversity, legal status of genetic resources, controversy concerning shipping, delimitation of areas or the protection of underwater cultural heritage. Hence the question arises, what the ways and means of further development of the law of the sea are. Undoubtedly, one of the possibilities is to develop implementation agreements, of which the third devoted to the protection and sustainable use of marine biodiversity outside national jurisdiction is the subject of an international conference convened by the General Assembly, whose resolutions in the area of the law of the sea play an important role. Undoubtedly, also the importance of the organization of the United Nations system, such as the IMO, FAO, UNESCO, UNEP is significant. There is also the possibility of accepting agreements addressing the issues left by UNCLOS without solution or definition. Not without significance is the soft law and the practice of states as well as the position of the organs appointed by UNCLOS.
Freedom of the high seas established in the law of the sea, as a customary norm comprises freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines. This was confirmed by the Geneva Conventions of 1958 on the High Seas and the Continental Shelf The law of the sea Convention of 1982 retained freedom of the laying of submarine pipelines in the exclusive economic zone but in parallel it has given a number of rights to the coastal State. Thus the coastal State has rights to set up conditions concerning all stages of pipelines construction and functioning. Through it may not impede the laying or maintenance of pipelines nevertheless the delineation of the course for the laying of such pipelines in the exclusive economic zone and on the continental shelf is subject to its consent. It also has the right to authorize and regulate drilling on the sea bed. An analysis of provisions concerning artificial islands, installations and structures as well as marine scientific research demonstrates various lacuna. Debates around the project of the Baltic pipeline confirm the necessity to take into account the specific situation of this semi-enclosed sea, interests of the coastal States and recommendations of the competent international organizations. One can also argue that in the case of pipelines laid on the bed of the high seas beyond the continental shelf the Authority should be consulted. Problems are also caused by the fact that pipelines are laid by multinational corporations.
In 2005 contiguous zones have been established by more than seventy states. Poland since 1932 has had three mile of the territorial sea and three mile of a contiguous zone which disappeared in 1978 when twelve mile territorial sea was proclaimed. First claims by coastal States to control rights in zones contiguous to their territorial seas, can be already found in XVIII century. In the first half of XX century the contiguous zone became a customary norm. In 1958 the I Geneva Convention determined its status providing that the coastal State in twelve mile zone of the high seas contiguous to its territorial seas may exercise the control necessary to prevent and punish infringement of customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary regulations. The Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 in articles 33 and 303 has changed the concept of the contiguous zone recognizing that it can be extended to twenty four miles and giving the coastal State in addition to rights recognized in the Geneva Convention the right to protect the undei*water cultural heritage. Polish specialists have argued on several occasions for the establishment of a contiguous zone. This idea has been recently supported by the Advisory Legal Committee by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Commission of Maritime Law of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Several arguments may be presented in favour of the establishment of Polish contiguous zone. It can better protect Polish interests, gives additional rights which do not exist in the exclusive economic zone, enables better safeguarding of frontiers against terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, smuggling of migrants, drug trafficking and give the right to the protection of underwater archaeological finds. The Ministry of Infrastructure recognizing the importance of these arguments, has already undertaken first steps aimed at the change of Polish Bill of 1991 and establishment of the contiguous zone.