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DER UMWELTSCHUTZ AUF HOHER SEE — INTERNATIONALE WIE NATIONALE MASSNAHMEN UND BESTREBUNGEN

Rüdiger Wolfrum
Verfassung und Recht in Übersee / Law and Politics in Africa, Asia and Latin America
Vol. 8, No. 2 (1975), pp. 201-219
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43108453
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
DER UMWELTSCHUTZ AUF HOHER SEE — INTERNATIONALE WIE NATIONALE MASSNAHMEN UND BESTREBUNGEN
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Abstract

The settlement of the protection of the marine environment at the Third Conference on the Law of the Sea will gain importance due to possible effects on shipping and sea-mining. Previous attempts to control the increasing pollution of the sea had little effect, and have been strongly criticised. Yet only a few states, for example Canada, have established pollution prevention zones adjoining their own coastal waters, thereby claiming far-reaching regulation and control competences. Canada justifies its action by stating that an effective protection of the marine environment can only be achieved by this method. At the Third Conference on the Law of the Sea, various ideas to combat the pollution of the marine environment were put forward, based on two completely different concepts. The first group demands a drastic extension of coastal state competences, which would allow the coastal states to look after the marine environment outside their territorial waters. It is not clear whether these competences concern only permission to control, or also permission for regulations and how far they will be bound by international standards. Such an increase of coastal state competences would cause difficulties for shipping. This applies, in particular, to national regulations dealing with the construction, equipment, manning and loading of ships. Special areas of the sea may be closed to shipping in general. Moreover, it would be difficult to accommodate this type of competence under the present principle of international Law of the Sea. This is based on the freedom of the High Seas, which provides that ships on the High Seas are under the jurisdiction of their own flag-state. The transfer of protection of the environment competences to coastal states with regard to sea-mining seems less extreme. However, it is to be feared that states in the process of industrialization will not take sufficient consideration of the demands of the protection of the environment if no internationally binding minimum standards are set. The other position of the Conference on the Law of the Sea favours the creation of an international authority to work out the regulations for the protection of the marine environment, and to secure general international standards. The best solution would be the inclusion into the existing system of the Law of the Sea of a regulation for the protection of the marine environment, based on the principle of the flag-state authority. This has been suggested by the Federal Republic of Germany. The obligations of the flag-states shall thereby be intensified; they become liable, if they fail to fulfill their responsibilities. Greater consideration should be given to this idea at the Conference on the Law of the Sea. It promises an effective protection of the environment of the sea without, at the same time, limiting the concept of the freedom of the High Seas.

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