The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was signed on 16 November 1994 and entered into force 12 months later, on the day on which the sixty-fifth instrument of ratification was deposited. It governs the entire ocean and all aspects of its use, including fishing, navigation, and environmental protection. This treaty contains 320 articles and nine annexes. Among them, the United States is the only state that does not ratify every single article in the UNCLOS.
The UNCLOS has been around for decades and is the cornerstone of maritime law. It provides the legal framework for maritime disputes, and is regularly cited in judicial proceedings and scholarly publications. Because of the unique expertise of its editors, Virginia Commentary provides the most authoritative and comprehensive resource for international law practitioners, maritime experts, and educators in one convenient location. The Supplement to the seven-volume series includes new and expanded interpretations of the Convention.
The UNSC and the U.N.
The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea makes clear that boarding a ship in the high seas for any illegal purpose is illegal and violates international law. The UNSC, the U.N., and other bodies all have the right to board ships, but the UNCLOS does not define what is a military activity or aggressive activity. However, it does provide the Seabed Authority with maximum political freedom.