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STRAITS USED FOR INTERNATIONAL NAVIGATION
SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Article 34. Legal status of waters forming
straits used for international navigation
1. The regime of passage through straits
used for international navigation established in this Part shall not in
other respects affect the legal status of the waters forming such straits
or the exercise by the States bordering the straits of their sovereignty
or jurisdiction over such waters and their air space, bed and subsoil.
2. The sovereignty or jurisdiction of
the States bordering the straits is exercised subject to this Part and
to other rules of international law.
Article 35. Scope of this Part
Nothing in this Part affects:
(a) any areas of internal waters within
a strait, except where the establishment of a straight baseline in accordance
with the method set forth in article 7 has the effect of enclosing as internal
waters areas which had not previously been considered as such;
(b) the legal status of the waters beyond
the territorial seas of States bordering straits as exclusive economic
zones or high seas; or
(c) the legal regime in straits in which passage
is regulated in whole or in part by long-standing international conventions
in force specifically relating to such straits.
Article 36. High seas routes or routes
through exclusive economic zones through straits used for international
This Part does not apply to a strait
used for international navigation if there exists through the strait a
route through the high seas or through an exclusive economic zone of similar
convenience with respect to navigational and hydrographical characteristics;
in such routes, the other relevant Parts of this Convention, including
the provisions regarding the freedoms of navigation and overflight, apply.
SECTION 2. TRANSIT PASSAGE
Article 37. Scope of this section
This section applies to straits which
are used for international navigation between one part of the high seas
or an exclusive economic zone and another part of the high seas or an exclusive
Article 38. Right of transit passage
1. In straits referred to in article
37, all ships and aircraft enjoy the right of transit passage, which shall
not be impeded; except that, if the strait is formed by an island of a
State bordering the strait and its mainland, transit passage shall not
apply if there exists seaward of the island a route through the high seas
or through an exclusive economic zone of similar convenience with respect
to navigational and hydrographical characteristics.
2. Transit passage means the exercise
in accordance with this Part of the freedom of navigation and overflight
solely for the purpose of continuous and expeditious transit of the strait
between one part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone and another
part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone. However, the requirement
of continuous and expeditious transit does not preclude passage through
the strait for the purpose of entering, leaving or returning from a State
bordering the strait, subject to the conditions of entry to that State.
3. Any activity which is not an exercise
of the right of transit passage through a strait remains subject to the
other applicable provisions of this Convention.
Article 39. Duties of ships and aircraft
during transit passage
1. Ships and aircraft, while exercising
the right of transit passage, shall:
(a) proceed without delay through or
over the strait;
(b) refrain from any threat or use of
force against the sovereignty territorial integrity or political independence
of States bordering the strait, or in any other manner in violation of
the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United
(c) refrain from any activities other
than those incident to their normal modes of continuous and expeditious
transit unless rendered necessary by force majeure or by distress;
(d ) comply with other relevant provisions
of this Part.
2. Ships in transit passage shall:
(a) comply with generally
accepted international regulations, procedures and practices for
safety at sea, including the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions
(b) comply with generally
accepted international regulations, procedures and practices for
the prevention, reduction and control of pollution from ships.
3. Aircraft in transit passage shall
(a) observe the Rules of the Air established
by the International Civil Aviation Organization as they apply to civil
aircraft; state aircraft will normally comply with such safety measures
and will at all times operate with due regard for the safety of navigation;
(b) at all times monitor the radio frequency
assigned by the competent internationally designated air traffic control
authority or the appropriate international distress radio frequency.
Article 40. Research and survey activities
During transit passage, foreign ships,
including marine scientific research and hydrographic survey ships, may
not carry out any research or survey activities without the prior authorization
of the States bordering straits.
Article 41. Sea lanes and traffic separation
schemes in straits used for international navigation
1. In conformity with this Part, States
bordering straits may designate sea lanes and prescribe traffic separation
schemes for navigation in straits where necessary to promote the safe passage
2. Such States may, when circumstances
require, and 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 them.
3. Such sea lanes and traffic separation
schemes shall conform to generally accepted international regulations.
4. Before designating or substituting
sea lanes or prescribing or substituting traffic separation schemes, States
bordering straits 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 States bordering the straits, after which the States may designate,
prescribe or substitute them.
5. In respect of a strait where sea
lanes or traffic separation schemes through the waters of two or more States
bordering the strait are being proposed, the States concerned shall co-operate
in formulating proposals in consultation with the competent international
6. States bordering straits shall clearly
indicate all sea lanes and traffic separation schemes designated or prescribed
by them on charts to which due publicity shall be given.
7. Ships in transit passage shall respect
applicable sea lanes and traffic separation schemes established in
accordance with this article.
Article 42. Laws and regulations of
States bordering straits relating to transit passage
1. Subject to the provisions of this
section, States bordering straits may adopt laws and regulations relating
to transit passage through straits, in respect of all or any of the following:
(a) the safety of navigation and the
regulation of maritime traffic, as provided in article 41
(b) the prevention, reduction and control
of pollution, by giving effect to applicable international regulations
regarding the discharge of oil, oily wastes and other noxious substances
in the strait;
(c) with respect to fishing vessels,
the prevention of fishing, including the stowage of fishing gear;
(d) the loading or unloading of any
commodity, currency or person in contravention of the customs, fiscal,
immigration or sanitary laws and regulations of States bordering straits.
2. Such laws and regulations shall not
discriminate in form or in fact among foreign ships or in their application
have the practical effect of denying, hampering or impairing the right
of transit passage as defined in this section.
3. States bordering straits shall give
due publicity to all such laws and regulations.
4. Foreign ships exercising the right
of transit passage shall comply with such laws and regulations.
5. The flag State of a ship or the State
of registry of an aircraft entitled to sovereign immunity which acts in
a manner contrary to such laws and regulations or other provisions of this
Part shall bear international responsibility for any loss or damage which
results to States bordering straits.
Article 43. Navigational and safety
aids and other improvements and the prevention, reduction and control of
User States and States bordering a strait
should by agreement cooperate
(a) in the establishment and maintenance
in a strait of necessary navigational and safety aids or other improvements
in aid of international navigation; and
(b) for the prevention, reduction and control
of pollution from ships.
Article 44. Duties of States bordering
States bordering straits shall not hamper
transit passage and shall give appropriate publicity to any danger to navigation
or overflight within or over the strait of which they have knowledge. There
shall be no suspension of transit passage.
SECTION 3. INNOCENT PASSAGE
Article 45. Innocent passage
1. The regime of innocent passage, in
accordance with Part 11, section 3, shall apply in straits used for international
(a) excluded from the application of
the regime of transit passage under article 38, paragraph 1; or
(b) between a part of the high seas
or an exclusive economic zone and the territorial sea of a foreign State.
2. There shall be no suspension of innocent
passage through such straits.
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