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LINK to UNCLOS 1982 - UN.Organisation

Bernaerts' Guide

A. Events Affecting the Law of the Sea from 1945-1973, page 1-7
1. The Reasons for International Maritime Conflicts                                
2. The Truman Proclamations of 1945                                        
3. Developments in the late 1940's and'1950's                                
4. The First and Second United Nations Conferences on the Law of the Sea (1958 and 1960)        
5. Developments in'the 1960's                                                
6. The Sea-Bed - "Common Heritage of Mankind"                                
7. The Sea-Bed Committee 1967-1973 and the Preparations for the Third United Nations Conference                                        

B. The Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea  (1973-1982), page 7-9
1. Participants, Sessions                                                
2. Initial Problems                                                        
3. "Gentleman's Agreement" and "Package Deal"                                
4. Negotiating Process                                                        

C. The General Effects of the Convention, page 9-15
1. A Constitution for the Oceans                                                
2. Impact of the Four UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea of 1958                
3. Significant Achievements                                                
4. Limits of Regulations                                                
5. "Equality" - Equal Rights for All?                                        
6. Major Objections to the Convention                                        
7. A New Economic Order?                                                
8. Provisions for Entry into Force                                        
9. The Importance of Having Signed the Convention                                
10. Practice of the States in Recent Years                                        
11. What is the "Law of the Sea" Today?                                        
12. The Future of the Convention                                        

D. Ratification and Signature
Status of the four Geneva Conventions of 1958 and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982                                        
 NOT reproduced, See updated version at: UN-Devision of Ocean Affairs 

Preamble and Part I (Article 1), page 22-23
1. Preamble                                                                
2. Introduction                                                        
3. Significant Content of the Preamble (Layout)  page 22-23                              
Part II (Articles 2-33)
1. Legal Status of the Territorial Sea,   page 24-25                           
2. The Right of Foreign Nationals in Internal Waters and the  Territorial Sea (Layout),  page 24-25            
3. Baseline, page 26-27                                                                
4. Importance of Baseline (Layout),  page 26-27                                         
5. Passage Through the Territorial Sea      page 28-29                                  
6. Importance of the Concept "Innocent Passage" (Layout)  page 28-29                        
7. The Contiguous Zone    page 30-31                                            
8. The Contiguous Zone (Layout)         page 30-31                                    
Part III (Articles 34-45)
 1. Straits Used for International Navigation      page 32-33                                  
2. The Regime of Passage Through Straits (Layout) page 32-33                       

Part IV (Articles 46-54)
1. Archipelagic States      page 34-35                                                  
2. Operations in Archipelagic Waters (Layout) page 34-35    35                             

Part V (Articles 55-75)
 1. Exclusive Economic Zone, page 36-37                                           
2. Rights and Duties in the Exclusive Economic Zone (Layout), page 36-37                        
3. Coastal State Fisheries,   page 38-39                                          
4. Fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone (Layout)  page 38-39                  

Part VI (Articles 76-85)
1. The Continental Shelf,   page 40-41                                           
2. Significant Rights of Others in the Economic Zone, Continental Shelf, and 
    the High Seas (Layout)     page 40-41                                
Part VII (Articles 86-120)
1. The High Seas - Generalpage 42-43                                               
2. The High Seas (Layout)      page 42-43                                          
3. The Flag State's Obligations for Merchant Vessels,    page 44-45                               
4. Vessels (Layout)         page 44-45                                                  
5. International Jurisdiction,    page 46-47                                            
6. Hot Pursuit         page 46-47                                                
7. Special Jurisdiction on the High Seas (Layout)     page 46-47                            
8. Submarine Cables and Pipelines,     page 48-49                                   
9. Fisheries on the High Seas,     page 48-49                                            
10. Freedom of Fishing (Layout),  page 48-49                                     
Part VIII (Article 121); Part IX (Articles 122-123)
1. The Regime of Islands,    page 50-51                                                
2. Enclosed or Semi-enclosed Seas,     page 50-51                                          
3. Regime of Islands (Layout),   page 50-51                                                
4. Enclosed or Semi-enclosed Seas (Layout)page 50-51                                   

Part X (Articles 124-132)
1. Freedom of Transit,    page 52-53                                                        
2. Freedom of Transit (Layout),   page 52-53                                                  

Part XI (Articles 133-191)
1. Principles Governing the Area  ,           page 54-55                                               
2. Principles Governing the Area (Layout),  page 54-55                                   
3. Development of the Resources of the Area, page 56-57                             
4. Development of Resources (Layout),         page 56-57                                           
5. The Sea-Bed Authprity,   page 58-59                                                
6. The Sea-Bed Authority (Layout),  page 58-59                                         
7. The Organs of the Authority,    page 60-61                                               
8. The Organizations of the Sea-Bed Authority (Layout),     page 60-61                        
9. The Sea-Bed Disputes Chamber,    page 62-63                                                                         
10. The Sea-Bed Disputes Chamber (Layout)  ,   page 62-63                               

Part XII (Articles 192-237)
1. Pollution Prevention Regulations in General,    page 64-65                             
2. The Legal Framework for Prevention of Pollution (Layout), page 64-65                       
3. Pollution Legislation Applicable to Vessels, page 66-67                               
4. General Jurisdiction for Vessels in Pollution Matters (Layout)page 66-67                 
5. Enforcement of Pollution Laws Applicable to Vessels,   page 68-71                       
6. General Enforcement Concept (Layout)                           page 68-71                                
7. Port State Enforcement (Article 218) (Layout)                  page 68-71                           
8. Coastal State Enforcement (Article 220) (Layout)             page 68-71                       

Part XIII (Articles 238-265)
1. Marine Scientific Research         page 72-73                                       
2. Marine Scientific Research (Layout)    page 72-73                                    

Part XIV (Articles 266-278)
1. Development and Transfer of Technology        page 74-75                        
2. Transfer of Marine Technology (Layout)           page 74-75    

Part XV (Articles 279-299)
1. System for Settlement of Disputes     page 76-77                                   
2. The Fora for the Settlement of Disputes (Layout)    page 76-77                            

Part XVI (Articles 300-304)
1. General Provisions        page 78-79                                                
2. References to Peaceful Use of the Sea (Layout)     page 78-79                           

Part XVII (Articles 305-320)
1. Final Provisions       page 80-81                                                 
2. Entry into Force and Applicability of the Convention and Amendments (Layout)    page 80-81                                              

Annexes I and IIpage 82-83

1. Highly Migratory Species                                                
2. Continental Shelf Commission                                        
3. Continental Shelf Commission (Layout)                                        

Annex III  page 84-85
1. Basic Conditions of Prospecting, Exploration and Exploitation                
2. Authority - Contractor (Layout)                                        
Annex IV,   page 86-87
1.The Enterprise                                                        
2.Statute of the Enterprise (Layout)                                        
Annex V,   page 88-89
1. Voluntary Conciliation                                                
2. Compulsory Conciliation                                                
3. Conciliation Procedure (Layout)                                        

 Annex VI
,    page 90-91
1.The Tribunal for the Law of the Sea                                        
2.2. The Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Layout)                                
Annex VII, Annex VIII,    page 92-93
1. Arbitration                                                        
2. Special Arbitration                                                        
3. Arbitration - Special Arbitration (Layout)                                
Annex IX,    page 94-95
1. International Organizations as "States Parties"                                
2. Participation of International Organizations (Layout)                        

 Final Act, Annex I, Resolution I
,    page 96-97
1. Final Act                                                        
2. Preparatory Commission                                                
3. Preparatory Commission (Layout)                                        
Final Act, Annex I, Resolution II    page 96-97
1.The Regime for "Pioneer activities"                                        
2.The "Pioneer Investors" (Layout)                                        


A.States and Organizations,   page 101 to 110
1. States and States Parties                                                
2. Coastal States                                                        
3. Port states                                                        
4. Flag States                                                        
5. Register States                                                        
6. Flag of Convenience States                                                
7. Archipelagic States                                                
8. Geographically Disadvantaged States                                        
9. Land-locked States                                                
10. Transit States                                                        
11. Developing States                                                
12.United Nations Organizations                                        
13.Other International Government Organizations                                
14.Co-operaton - "Competent International Organization"                        
15.Govermental Organizations as Parties to the Convention                        

B. Zones and Areas, page 111 to 117
1. International Waters, "Historic Bays", and Ports                        
2. Territorial Sea                                                        
3. Contiguous Zone                                                        
4. Straits                                                                
5. Archipelagic Waters and Zones                                        
6. Islands                                                                
7. Enclosed or Semi-enclosed Seas                                        
8. Continental Shelf                                                
9. Exclusive Economic Zone                                                
10.The High Seas                                                        
11.The Area - The Deep Sea-Bed                                        

C. Activities on the Oceans,   page 118 to 124
1. Ships - Vessels                                                        
2. Navigation                                                        
3. Fisheries                                                        
4. Overflight                                                        
5. Marine Scientific Research                                        
6. Deep-Sea Mining                                                
7. Artificial Islands and structures                                        
8. Cables and Pipelines                                                
9. Dumping                                                        
10.Archeological and Historical Objects                                
11.Military use                                                        

D. Prevention Measures,  page 125 to 131
1. Safety of Shipping                                                
2. Preservation of the Marine Environment                                
3. Indemnity                                                        

E. Measures for peace and Justice,  page 125 to 131                                                     
1. Establishing Peace                                                
2. Measures to Close the Economic Gap                                
3. The Unification of the Law of the Sea                                
4. Settlement of Disputes  


Book published:
1988 Fairplay/UK,
2005 (reprint) by

Trafford Publishing,
1663 Liberty Drive Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403, Canada.

329 pages, ISBN 1-4120-7665-x;

Available via online-contributer 


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Online – Edition

Bernaerts' Guide to the 
1982 United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea


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English and Russian
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Book access to an older online version from 2005






Preface of the reprint in 2005

More than 15 years ago FAIRPLAY PUBLICATIONS Ltd, Coulsdon, Surrey, England, published the book "Bernaerts' Guide to the Law of the Sea - The 1982 United Nations Convention". The guiding potential of the book to find access to the Law of the Sea Convention is still given. Internet technology and publishing on demand invite to provide the interested reader and researcher with this tool again. Only the Status of the Convention (ratification etc) has been updated and instead of the Final Act, the book edition includes the "Agreement relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea" of 1994. The corresponding web site neither includes the text of the 1982 Convention, nor the Agreement of 1994. The thorough Index of the 1988 edition is reproduced without changes.
Arnd Bernaerts, October 2005,
Comments 1988-1990
___"an invaluable guide to the understanding and implementation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea"
Satya N. Nandan, U.N. Undersecretay, in: Book Foreword, 1988
__"clearly presented" R.R. Churchill, in: Maritime Policy & Management 1989, p. 340
__"the (book's) concept, which is so wonderful simple, is exactly the factor which makes the book so useful for both the novice as well as the person with extensive experience"
M. Bonefeld, in: Verfassung und Recht, 1989, pp. 83-85
__"the work contains much useful background information…." R.W. Bentham, in: Journal of Energy & Natural Resource Law, 1989, p. 336
__"Bernaerts has saved us a struggle" JG, in: Fairplay Shipping Weekly Magazin, 13th October 1988, p. 33
__"this is probably the best edition on the Convention to put into the hands of students"
A.V. Lowe, in: Int'l and Comparative Law Quarterly 1990, p. 16
__"it will be an invaluable reference tool and should sit on the book shelves of policy makers and all others who are involved in maritime matters"
Vivian I. Forbes, in: The Indian Ocean Review, May 1990, p.10

Bernaerts’s Guide to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

FOREWORD of the 1988 edition
by Satya N. Nandan
Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Law of the Sea Office for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea

Revolutionary changes have taken place in the International Law of the Sea since 1945. The process of change was accelerated in the last two decades by the convening in 1973 of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. The protracted negotiations, spanning over a decade, culminated in the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982. By 9 December 1984, the closing date for signature, 159 signatures were appended to the Convention, the largest number for any such multilateral instrument in the history of international relations.

The Convention, which was adopted as a comprehensive package, introduced a new equity in the relationship among states with respect to the uses of the ocean and the allocation of its resources. It deals, inter alia, with sovereignty and jurisdiction of states, navigation and marine transport, over flight of aircraft, marine pollution, marine scientific research, marine technology, conservation and exploitation of marine living resources, the development and-exploitation of marine non-living resources in national and international areas, and unique provisions dealing with the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the new regime.

There is no doubt that as we approach the 21st century, more and more attention will be paid to the uses of the oceans and the development of their resources. It is important, therefore, that these developments should take place within a widely accepted legal framework so that there is certainty as to the rights and obligations of all states. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides that framework. It establishes a standard for the conduct of states in maritime matters. It is thus a major instrument for preventing conflicts among states.

The convention and its annexes contain over 400 articles. For many it may be a formidable undertaking to grasp the substance and structure of it without making a considerable investment in time and energy. Mr Bernaerts' guide, therefore, is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the convention. It provides a most useful reference tool which will benefit administrators and policy makers, as well as scholars. It makes the convention accessible to the uninitiated and refreshes, at a glance, the memories of the initiated. With meticulous references and graphic presentations of the provisions of the convention, Mr Bernaerts has given to the international community an invaluable guide to the understanding and implementation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
April 1988

PREFACE (extract) of the 1988 edition

The reader will be aware that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the first constitution of the oceans, a ground-breaking document in many respects. He or she might also have made the discovery that the full text of the Convention is immediately accessible only to experts. If the Convention were only a treaty consisting of straightforward technical regulatory provisions, it could be left to them with a clear conscience. But the Convention is to a large extent a political document and, as such, is expected to influence significantly the development of relations among the states in the world community; for this reason, a wide-spread knowledge of the scope, goals, and regulatory framework of the Convention can only serve to further the aims of the document and would surely follow the intentions of the many men and women who made this Convention their life-work, such as Arvid Pardo (Malta), Hamilton Shirtey Amerasinghe (Sri Lanka), Tommy T. B. Koh (Singapore), and Satya N. Nandan (Fiji), to name only a few of the hundreds who worked on the preparation of this Convention.
As the reader uses the Guide (Part II), he will find that many provisions of the Convention are much easier to understand if one knows the basic framework within which a particular regulation is placed. The Guide aims to provide this framework, with reference to the text of the Convention and, in addition, t& the supporting Commentary of Part III, which describes the overall context of the major terms arid concepts. The Introduction of Part I sketches the historical background of the Convention and some of the general effects. A detailed index at the end of the book will be of assistance in finding specific subjects.


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