“US Bans Marine Scientific Research in its Waters Without Consent” –Global Security

Global Security reports,

“The United States has updated its policy on marine scientific research, requiring foreign ships to request permission before entering U.S. waters. It is the latest step by Washington to align U.S. law with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as it seeks to champion a rules-based order despite criticism from China for not ratifying the convention.”

This is expressly about the EEZ, not the territorial sea. What I find really remarkable here is,

According to the U.S. Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, marine scientific research only includes “those activities undertaken in the ocean to expand knowledge of the marine environment and its processes.”

Hydrographic surveys – including those for military purposes — and resource exploration, which China’s research fleet is known for, are instead considered “marine data collection,” and thus are not affected under the updated policy.

OK, I can understand wanting to keep the door open for our hydrographic research in potential adversaries’ EEZ to inform submarine and anti-submarine operations, but EEZs are about “economic” pursuits. I would think that would include resource exploration.

Several of the South East Asian nations have objected to Chinese resource exploration in their EEZ, based on their interpretation of UNCLOS. Our statement seems to give cover for what most countries see as Chinese misbehavior.

The EEZ is supposed to allow the coastal state to regulate economic activity in adjacent waters. Why would we object to “those activities undertaken in the ocean to expand knowledge of the marine environment and its processes.” 

4 thoughts on ““US Bans Marine Scientific Research in its Waters Without Consent” –Global Security

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