The 1982 Draft Convention of the Law of the Sea is a set of rules that governs the use of global oceans, the airspace, the seabed, and the subsoil below. It aims at balancing the interests of nations in controlling activities off their own coats and the nations’ interests in protecting their liberty to uses the waters without interference. The Convention addresses several issues such as exploitation and conservation of ocean resources, navigation and overflight of the oceans, marine scientific research, and protection of the marine environment (The United Nations, 2011).
The Bush Administration asked for this law to be ratified. It placed the law’s ratification as an ‘urgent’ matter. This accession to this law was supported by major ocean industries such as shipping, natural gas, oil, fishing, ship builders, drilling contractors, and telecommunications companies. Exporting companies also lobbied for its ratification. These concerns have been expressed mainly by groups that oppose multilateral agreements. Such critics still want the law ratified because they believe that the Law of the Sea will give the UN control over all oceans. However, these law provisions do not give the UN any mandate for decision making. Decisions that affect the member countries of this treaty are made collectively by representatives of those countries. The critics also say that the Law of Sea puts restrictions on the production of seabed minerals and technology transfers. They also say that the Proliferation Security Initiative will also be hindered. The PSI aims at impeding transport of weapons of mass destruction and related matter via seas (Lugar, 2004).
That being said, I do not think that the Law of Sea needs ratification. This is because the treaty protects and preserves the marine environment and establishes a framework for further global action to combat pollution. Given a chance to ratify the Convention, nations will try to ratify it to suit their own interests. The U.S. is not an exception. This will affect marine life because minerals will be exploited liberally with no limits, causing interruption on marine life. Also, weapons of mass destruction could be transported with no limits. This could lead to wars, especially in the current world where there is tension regarding nuclear weapons. Also, ratifying this law will give nations a chance to become territorial over their waters. This will restrict regional between nations.
Lugar, R. G. (2004, May 4). The Law of the Sea Convention: The Case for Senate Action. Retrieved from Brookings: http://www.brookings.edu/research/speeches/2004/05/04energy-lugar
The United Nations. (2011, November 9). United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982. Retrieved from United Nations: http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_convention.htm