UNCLOS

The Law of the Sea and the RCN

Most global trade is transported via the oceans, and Canada relies on the oceans to transport all its non-US trade. As well, Canada has always been a supporter of law and order at sea in the belief that a rules-based system benefits everyone. Today, a framework is provided by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). UNCLOS is a comprehensive set of international treaties with near universal membership -- with the important exception of the United States. It sets the rules for the use of the world’s oceans, including navigational and maritime research rights, environmental responsibilities and the limits of states’ fishing rights, territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), and matters relating to warships.

EEZ
UNCLOS EEZs. Image credit: www.researchgate.net

UNCLOS has established a set of rules to reduce conflict over uses of and claims to the seas, and established dispute-resolution mechanisms. Upholding this treaty is an important component of Canada’s maritime policy and, as the navy is the main actor responsible Canada’s maritime security, a major part of this falls to the navy.

Want to know more? Take a look at the Briefing Note published by the Naval Association of Canada, available at https://www.navalassoc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/BN18-LoS.pdf

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