International Relations Paper on Controlling the Shipping Lanes

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) found it necessary to regularize the extent of national territorial seas. The convention came up with a proposal of a 12-nautical mile limit to territorial seas that replaced the traditional 3-mile limit as well as other claims of over 200 miles that were made by Latin American countries (Blacksell 176). The extension of territorial waters by nations has since raised myriads of problems. The problems have further been worsened by the rise in piracy on the high seas and the reluctance of nations to sign maritime treaties into law.

According to UNCLOS, states have the freedom of navigation as well as the right to overfly in the high seas (Blacksell 177). With this freedom curtailed by increasing cases of piracy, nations should collaborate or work together to address the problem. The high seas in the east coast of Africa have witnessed several piracy incidents over the years. Somali pirates have been responsible for the rising piracy incidents in the region over the years. Piracy is a global problem since it affects ships, people, crews, and cargoes from all over the world. Thus, a collaborative legal and operational approach by nations would be the best way of maintaining the freedom of navigation in high seas. In the east coast of Africa, Somalia’s neighbours such as Kenya should be ready to arrest and convict Somali pirates. Also, other nations such as the U.S., UK, India, and others should focus on providing military support and surveillance of high sea areas prone to it. It is only by coming together that nations can address the piracy problem and maintain freedom of navigation.




Blacksell, Mark. Political Geography. Routledge, 2006.