UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

The Convention strongly supports United States national interests. It protects the sovereignty of American ships and aircraft and more than doubles the resource jurisdiction of the United States. It affirms traditional United States leadership in oceans affairs. Indeed, the Convention is one of the greatest negotiating successes in United States diplomatic history. --John Norton Moore

Law of the Sea Convention & Agreements

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea - Consolidated

Resolution 48/263 Relating to Implementation of Part XI

Resolution 2749 Governing the Seabed and Ocean Floor

Final Act of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea

Agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks

Final Act of the Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks

Law of the Sea Documents

114th Congress calls on Senate to ratify UNCLOS: H. Res. 631 (2016)

2007 Senate Report on UNCLOS (Exec. Rpt. 110-9)

2004 Senate Report on UNCLOS (Exec. Rpt. 108-10)

Current List of Parties to the Convention and the Related Agreements (UN)

Law of the Sea Commentary

The Center's Law of the Sea Commentary Project entails a comprehensive, objective, and authoritative analysis of the development of each of the 320 articles and 9 annexes in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and of relevant provisions in the Final Act of the Conference. The result is published in seven volumes. A paperback edition of Supplementary Documents is also available.


Law of the Sea Testimony

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (5/23/12)

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (5/23/12)

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 5/23/12

Admiral Robert Papp, Commandant of the US Coast Guard (6/14/12)

Testimonies given in 2007 advocating UNCLOS accession by United States:

Gordon England, Deputy Secretary of Defense (9/27/2007)

John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of State (9/27/07)

Admiral Patrick Walsh, U.S. Navy Vice Chief of Naval Operations (9/27/2007)

Admiral Vernon Clark, Former Chief of Naval Operations (10/4/07)

Douglas Burnett, International Cable Law Advisor (10/4/07)

Joseph Cox, Chamber of Shipping of America (10/4/07)

Professor Bernard Oxman (10/4/07)

Testimonies of Center Director John Norton Moore (2003-04):

Moore: Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Moore: Senate Committee on Armed Services

Moore: House Committee on International Relations


Selected Letters Advocating UNCLOS Accession

From 2009:

Governors Sarah Palin (AK) & Martin O'Malley (MD) to Senators Reed, McConnell, Kerry & Lugar

From 2008:

US Chamber of Commerce representatives to Leader Reid and Leader McConnell

From 2007:

101 Eminent Persons to Senators Reid and McConnell

Governor Sarah Palin to Senators Stevens and Murkowski

George P. Shultz to Senator Lugar

John N. Moore, William Schachte, & Edwin Williamson to Senators Biden and Lugar (on dispute settlement and article 298)

John N. Moore to Senator Lugar (on effects in U.S. courts & dispute settlement provisions)

E.P. Giambastiani, Peter Pace, J.G. Mullen, Michael Moseley, J.T. Conway, & George Casey, Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Senator Biden ("24 star letter")

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to Senator Biden

Michael Carns on behalf of the Military Officers Association of America to Senator Biden

Fmr. U.S. Coast Guard Commandants Thomas Collins, James Loy, Robert Kramek, and Paul Yost to Senator Biden

Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior & Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce to Senator Biden


ADM Watkins, Chair of U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Leon Panetta, Chair of Pew Oceans Commission and over 70 additional signers to Senator Frist (2005)

William Taft IV, Dept of State Legal Adviser to Senator Warner (2004)

ADM Vern Clark to Senator Lugar (2004)

ADM Johnson to Chairman Helms (2000)

All former then-living Chiefs of Naval Operations to Thurmond, Lott, and Helms (1998)