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Article 46. Use of terms
For the purposes of this Convention:
(a) 'archipelagic State' means a State
constituted wholly by one or more archipelagos
and may include other islands;
(b) 'archipelago' means a group of islands,
including parts of islands, interconnecting waters and other natural features
which are so closely interrelated that such islands, waters and other natural
features form an intrinsic geographical, economic and political entity,
or which historically have been regarded as such.
Article 47. Archipelagic baselines
1. An archipelagic State may draw straight
archipelagic baselines joining the outermost points of the outermost islands
and drying reefs of the archipelago provided that within such baselines
are included the main islands and an area in which the ratio of the area
of the water to the area of the land, including atolls, is between 1 to
I and 9 to 1.
2. The length of such baselines shall
not exceed 100 nautical miles, except that up to 3 per cent of the total
number of baselines enclosing any archipelago may exceed that length, up
to a maximum length of 125 nautical miles.
3. The drawing of such baselines shall
not depart to any appreciable extent from the general configuration of
4. Such baselines shall not be drawn
to and from low-tide elevations, unless lighthouses or similar installations
which are permanently above sea level have been built on them or where
a low-tide elevation is situated wholly or partly at a distance not exceeding
the breadth of the territorial sea from the nearest island.
5. The system of such baselines shall
not be applied by an archipelagic State in such a manner as to cut off
from the high seas or the exclusive economic zone the territorial sea of
6. If a part of the archipelagic waters
of an archipelagic State lies between two parts of an immediately adjacent
neighbouring State, existing rights and all other legitimate interests
which the latter State has traditionally exercised in such waters and all
rights stipulated by agreement between those States shall continue and
7. For the purpose of computing the
ratio of water to land under paragraph I, land areas may include waters
lying within the fringing reefs of islands and atolls, including that part
of a steep-sided oceanic plateau which is enclosed or nearly enclosed by
a chain of limestone islands and drying reefs lying on the perimeter of
8. The baselines drawn in accordance
with this article shall be shown on charts of a scale or scales adequate
for ascertaining their position. Alternative lists of geographical co-ordinates
of points, specifying the geodetic datum, may be substituted.
9. The archipelagic State shall give
due publicity to such charts or lists of geographical co-ordinates and
shall deposit a copy of each such chart or list with the Secretary-General
of the United Nations.
Article 48. Measurement of the breadth
of the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone
and the continental shelf. The breadth of the territorial sea, the contiguous
zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf shall be measured
from archipelagic baselines drawn in accordance with article 47.
Article 49. Legal status of archipelagic
waters, of the air space over archipelagic waters and of their bed and
1. The sovereignty of an archipelagic
State extends to the waters enclosed by the archipelagic baselines drawn
in accordance with article 47, described as archipelagic waters, regardless
of their depth or distance from the coast.
2. This sovereignty extends to the air
space over the archipelagic waters, as well as to their bed and subsoil,
and the resources contained therein.
3. This sovereignty is exercised subject
to this Part.
4. The regime of archipelagic sea lanes
passage established in this Part shall not in other respects affect the
status of the archipelagic waters, including the sea lanes, or the exercise
by the archipelagic State of its sovereignty over such waters and their
air space, bed and subsoil, and the resources contained therein.
Article 50. Delimitation of internal
Within its archipelagic waters, the
archipelagic State may draw closing lines for the delimitation of internal
waters, in accordance with articles 9, 10 and 11.
Article 51. Existing agreements, traditional
fishing rights and exist ing submarine cables
1. Without prejudice to article 49,
an archipelagic State shall respect existing agreements with other States
and shall recognize traditional fishing rights and other legitimate activities
of the immediately adjacent neighbouring States in certain areas falling
within archipelagic waters. The terms and conditions for the exercise of
such rights and activities, including the nature, the extent and the areas
to which they apply, shall, at the request of any of the States concerned,
be regulated by bilateral agreements between them.
Such rights shall not be transferred
to or shared with third States or their nationals.
2. An archipelagic State shall respect
existing submarine cables laid by other States and passing through its
waters without making a landfall. An archipelagic State shall permit the
maintenance and replacement of such cables upon receiving due notice of
their location and the intention to repair or replace them.
Article 52. Right of innocent passage
1. Subject to article 53 and without
prejudice to article 50, ships of all States enjoy the right of innocent
passage through archipelagic waters, in accordance with Part II, section
2. The archipelagic State may, without
discrimination in form or in fact among foreign ships, suspend temporarily
in specified areas of its archipelagic waters the innocent passage of foreign
ships if such suspension is essential for the protection of its security.
Such suspension shall take effect only after having been duly published.
Article 53. Right of archipelagic sea
1. An archipelagic State may designate
sea lanes and air routes there above, suitable for the continuous and expeditious
passage of foreign ships and aircraft through or over its archipelagic
waters and the adjacent territorial sea.
2. All ships and aircraft enjoy the
right of archipelagic sea lanes passage in such sea lanes and air routes.
3. Archipelagic sea lanes passage means
the exercise in accordance with this Convention of the rights of navigation
and overflight in the normal mode solely for the purpose of continuous,
expeditious and unobstructed transit between one part of the high seas
or an exclusive economic zone and another part of the high seas or an exclusive
4. Such sea lanes and air routes shall
traverse the archipelagic waters and the adjacent territorial sea and shall
include all normal passage routes used as routes for international navigation
or over-flight through or over archipelagic waters and, within such routes,
so far as ships are concerned, all normal navigational channels, provided
that duplication of routes of similar convenience between the same entry
and exit points shall not be necessary.
5. Such sea lanes and air routes shall
be defined by a series of continuous axis lines from the entry points of
passage routes to the exit points. Ships and aircraft in archipelagic sea
lanes passage shall not deviate more than 25 nautical miles to either side
of such axis lines during passage, provided that such ships and aircraft
shall not navigate closer to the coasts than l 0 per cent of the distance
between the nearest points on islands bordering the sea lane.
6. An archipelagic State which designates
sea lanes under this article may also prescribe traffic separation schemes
for the safe passage of ships through narrow channels in such sea lanes.
7. An archipelagic State may, when circumstances
require, after giving due publicity thereto, substitute other sea lanes
or traffic separation schemes for any sea lanes or traffic separation
schemes previously designated or prescribed by it.
8. Such sea lanes and traffic separation
schemes shall conform to generally accepted international regulations.
9. In designating or substituting sea
lanes or prescribing or substituting traffic separation schemes, an archipelagic
State shall refer proposals to the competent international organization
with a view to their adoption. The organization may adopt only such sea
lanes and traffic separation schemes as may be agreed with the archipelagic
State, after which the archipelagic State may designate, prescribe or substitute
10. The archipelagic State shall clearly
indicate the axis of the sea lanes and the traffic separation schemes designated
or prescribed by it on charts to which due publicity shall be given.
11. Ships in archipelagic sea lanes
passage shall respect applicable sea lanes and traffic separation schemes
established in accordance with this article.
12. If an archipelagic State does not
designate sea lanes or air routes, the right of archipelagic sea lanes
passage may be exercised through the routes normally used for international
Article 54. Duties of ships and aircraft
during their passage, research and survey activities, duties of the archipelagic
State and laws and regulations of the archipelagic State relating
to archipelagic sea lanes passage
Articles 39,40,42 and 44 apply mutatis
mutandis to archipelagic sea lanes passage.
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