Russia to Sink the Law of the Sea?

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Caroline Tuckett and Kevin Rowlands discuss the prospects of Russia's continued adherence to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other disturbing developments in the "rules-based" maritime order.

An article for Britian's Royal United Services Institure notes Russian threats to the right of innocent passage, as provided for under UNCLOS Article 8 (2).   

The authors note "three major pivot points:

  1. The failure of Russia to be re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  2. Russia questioning continued adherence to UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); and
  3.  The declaration of the Sea of Azov as Russian internal waters. 

A domestic consideration for Moscow are legacy USSR baselines in the Arctic, effectively enclosing areas of water as internal waters within what is now the Northern Sea Route.  Russian politicians assert the Northern Sea Route is an ‘internal transport artery’.

The authors note: "No state has yet withdrawn from UNCLOS and, if Russia does, it will be a blow to the rules-based international order."

Read the entire article [HERE]