Regulating Shipping in the Arctic Ocean: An Analysis of State Practice

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The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) permits State Parties to establish an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) 200 nautical miles from their coast. Coastal States have exclusive jurisdiction over resources within the EEZ, but navigational and other high seas freedoms continue to exist. A significant number of States have, however, enacted legislation that departs from the LOSC, interfering with the navigational rights and freedoms of other States. This article analyses this development with a specific focus on the Arctic. It investigates the powers of Arctic coastal States to regulate shipping in the EEZ and thereby navigation in the Arctic Ocean. It adds to existing literature by providing an analysis of State practice suggesting that despite the uncertainty concerning the interpretation of the LOSC Article 234, and the right to exercise legislative jurisdiction over ice-covered waters, a not insignificant number of States have claimed jurisdiction in their own EEZ beyond the rights granted in the LOSC, and many of these States are therefore not in a position where they can object to extensive jurisdictional claims in the Arctic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-299
Number of pages24
JournalOcean Development and International Law
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Arctic
  • Article 234
  • Environmental protection
  • Exclusive economic zone
  • Navigation
  • Shipping
  • State practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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