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Maritime Conflict: Offshore Political Geography Essay

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Updated: Jun 9th, 2020

The earth is the home of a man and has numerous resources that facilitate the successful existence of all the living things. It is important to assert that a large part of the earth’s surface consists of water bodies. Some of the water bodies include lakes, rivers, oceans, and seas. While many water bodies like rivers and lakes are within the borders of particular countries, oceans are large water bodies that cut across continents. As a result, they make up the largest part of the earth’s surface.

The Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Pacific are oceans found around the world. Due to the numerous resources found in oceans, countries, and states have continually engaged in political and legal challenges on issues that regard its territorial ownership and management. It is within this context that the essay summarises the legal rights and issues of contesting parties concerning the Indian Ocean relative to the UN Convention on the law of the sea.

The Indian Ocean extends across several countries in Asia, Africa, and Australia. These countries share the resources within the ocean and enjoy its features. Since the ocean has a number of resources and benefits, challenges frequently occur concerning how these countries need to share and manage them. Klein asserts that to minimize the challenges, the UN Convention came into force and ensured that each country party to the convention enjoys the benefits of the water body (29). After a number of meetings, the United Nations came up with a set of guidelines that govern the use, management, and conservation of the oceans by the subject nations. Some of the legal rights and issues provided by the convention on the law of the sea that countries party to the convection enjoy include the passage, fishing, and territorial rights.

Territorial, fishing, and passage rights facilitate harmony and productive relationships with countries that share an ocean or a water body. The enactment of the UN Convention on the law of the sea, which provides the legal rights, was practical as it halted various challenges and issues amongst several countries adjacent to the Indian Ocean. Some of the challenges and issues experienced by countries and states around the Indian Ocean included fishing, oil drilling, and other factors that concerned the ocean resources (Bernaerts 37; Gianni 23). It is important to elucidate that the convention provides a territorial limit where countries can manage and exercise their legal rights.

By providing Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), the convention greatly reduced the challenges that many countries adjacent to the oceans experienced in terms of use, management, and conservation. According to Ebbin, Hoel, and Sydnes, the EEZs cover 230 miles from the border of a particular country where it can exercise its economic rights (54). Moreover, the convention ensures that each country gets access to the ocean and uses it to transport imported or exported products. The convention also enables landlocked countries to transport their goods from transit countries free from any form of taxation.

The Indian Ocean is one of the largest water bodies found in the world and covers several countries in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Additionally, the ocean has numerous resources and features that are very important in human livelihoods. Over time, countries that share the water body have experienced conflicts and challenges that regarded its use and management. Continued challenges led to the development of the UN Convention on the law of the sea. Notably, the convention has become very productive in minimizing the challenges associated with use, conservation, passage, and other sea rights. The states and countries party to the convention were few during its enactment, but have increased to more than 160. Evidently, the convention has become an important element that helps countries enjoy the legal rights and benefits of water bodies such as the Indian Ocean.

Works Cited

Klein, Natalie. Dispute Settlement in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Print.

Bernaerts, Arnd. Beernaert’s Guide to the 1992 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea: Including the Text of the 1982 Un Convention& Agreement Concerning Party XI Of 1994. London: Trafford Publishing, 2006. Print.

Gianni, Mathew. High Seas Bottom Trawl Fisheries and Their Impacts on the Biodiversity of Vulnerable Deep Sea Ecosystems: Options For the International Action: Executive Summary. Gland: IUCN, 2004. Print.

Ebbin, Syma., Alf Hoel, And Are Sydnes. A Sea Change: The Exclusive Economic Zone and Governance Institutions for Living Marine Resources. Dordrecht: Springer, 2005. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Maritime Conflict: Offshore Political Geography." June 9, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/maritime-conflict-offshore-political-geography/.

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