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Spring 2023 Course

The International Law of the Sea

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This course explores the international law of the sea, which is one of the most important and compelling areas of public international law. The international law of the sea focuses on the distribution of authority among flag states, coastal states, and port states, and the balance of authority between states and international organizations, to regulate activities over more than 70 percent of the earth.

Sources of law include treaties, cases, norms, and regimes, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which is the “constitution” for the world’s oceans. This area of law is a prominent feature of international politics, evident in disputes from the South China Sea to the Arctic Ocean and the Black Sea.

Topics include rules governing: (1) maritime boundary delimitation, (2) marine environmental protection and climate change; (3) marine biodiversity and sustainable development; (4) naval operations in peacetime and armed conflict at sea; (5) marine resource conservation and fisheries, (6) submarine cables that carry 99 percent of transcontinental communications, (7) commercial shipping that transports some 90 percent of international trade, (8) offshore energy and seabed mineral mining, (9) marine genetic resources, (10) human rights and irregular migration at sea, (11) maritime law enforcement, including piracy, and (12) international litigation and dispute resolution.