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Law of the Sea Convention


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I've been working on a draft of a simplified version of the major conventions pertaining to the law of the sea. I'll get into specific provisions later, but this would provide a baseline for maritime law, allowing us to operate for the most part based on the real life rules. My thought is we could RP this convention occurring (and actually debate the couple of interesting noteworthy issues), and then just establish that the many smaller RL maritime rules were subsequently adopted by the international organization created by this convention. My thought is that this convention should happen 1-2 decades after a major global conflict, and should be based in the main port of a major maritime power.

Would people be interested in participating? Any ideas on when/where the convention should occur?

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Great! I'm glad to see there's so much interest. I'd thought that maybe 1959 would work as a year. As for location, I suppose @Orioni's largest city, Zuidhaven, would make sense, as he is an island nation, and also a major economic power. If that sounds good to everyone, we can create a thread to begin the convention. This would likely be attended by a one-off character (special envoy), though those countries especially interested might send their foreign minister.

I do have a proposed text for the treaty, but rather than expect anyone to read it, I figured the best approach would be to provide a summary of the particularly controversial points. The in-game explanation would be that an assembly of international legal scholars had proposed the initial text, and the national delegates are just discussing what's actually significant.

So here are the controversial points of the International Convention on the Law of the Sea:

  • Grants a nation complete economic control of its Exclusive Economic Zone, defined as the area extending from its baseline to whichever is further: 200 nautical miles or the end of the continental margin (aka: where the seabed drops off and the real ocean begins). This is a controversial provision as previously, no such zones existed. It gives natural benefit to nations proximate to fishing/undersea resources, and particularly to those with extensive continental margins. Some powers instead wanted an international authority to control all areas outside international waters.
  • Creates an exception to the above powers for "innocent passage", essentially allowing a ship (including a warship) to travel anywhere as long as the ship is genuinely just innocently passing onto another port. A ship of any state can thus sail through any other state's waters (including through, say, a strait, but not internal waterways like rivers or canals), subject to only limited maritime regulations (that must apply equally to the coastal state's ships and to foreign ships). This is probably the biggest change -- before the 1950s in real life, you could only travel into a nation's waters with its permission.
  • Contains some general environmental protection provisions. This is mostly toothless, but it'd still be groundbreaking in the 1950s as at that point, modern environmentalism was in its infancy.

There are four tag-alongs with the convention.

  • The First Optional Protocol, which seeks to stop the slave trade. Only nations that ratify it would be bound by its provisions.
  • The Second Optional Protocol, which seeks to stop the illicit narcotics trade. Only nations that ratify it would be bound by its provisions.
  • The Statute of the International Maritime Organization (WIP), which would be an international organization dedicated to promoting the peaceful and safe use of the seas. We would use this organization's existence as a way to explain away the existence of the many smaller, less important maritime treaties (e.g.: "we know ships have to honk their horns at each other when passing because the IMO in-game has promulgated a recommendation to that extent.")
  • The Statute of the International Maritime Court (WIP), which would be an international court to hear maritime disputes. We don't have a world court in our world, so this would be needed. Plus, in real life, they created one of these because there are so many maritime disputes, and they didn't want to overwhelm the general world court.

Does this sound reasonable to everyone? And are there any OOC questions about the provisions before we launch into an in-game debate about any of it?

Edited by Faramount
Renamed convention for a better acronym (ICLOS) (see edit history)
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On 8/24/2018 at 3:38 AM, Faramount said:

My thought is that this convention should happen 1-2 decades after a major global conflict, and should be based in the main port of a major maritime power.

As an island nation, I'd be happy to participate as well! I'd suggest the Thalassan War as the conflict, as a large part of that that war was fought out on sea. On a side note, it would be nice for the SSI to host the discussion to show that the reform and democratisation of the nation of the SSI worked. It could be a nice beginning for the tradition of diplomacy in the SSI. Naturally, I totally support hosting it in Orioni. Just another proposal. :D 

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On 9/7/2018 at 11:44 PM, Faramount said:

Alright. SSI, do you want to start up a thread? I imagine you could just start with the opening of the conference itself. We'd already have done all the preliminaries well in advance (the text of the treaty having been almost completely written in advance).

A'ight, someone want to write about how the conference goes?

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No worries, Tag, we can take this slowly. In fact, if its good with everyone, maybe we could schedule this out.

1. Arrivals. We set aside the next fourteen days for participants to post the arrival of their delegation.

2. Opening ceremony. SSI can then optionally do a post describing the opening ceremony. I figure this can be a nice clear break point, plus it'd give SSI the opportunity to showcase high culture in his nation in this period.

3. Negotiations. We can jump from there directly into negotiations. I figured if it was alright with everyone, I'd play a NPC representative of the group of legal experts that would've developed the original language. This character would identify the major issues of contention, then open the floor for commentary.

We'd just negotiate from there until we reach consensus. I will note -- international law is developed via consensus, so literally everyone present will have to agree. So if there are differences, this might take time. Conversely, if we find quick agreement, maybe only a few weeks.

4. Closing/Signing Ceremony (with discussion of separate ratification). We'd then conclude with a closing/signing ceremony. SSI would again post the first post of this, so as to break up the thread, and then we'd all post our signing (and discuss subsequent ratification).

5. Wiki. I'll then create an article on the wiki for the convention, as well as for the International Maritime Organization. And we can then have an OOC discussion about the mundane work the IMO has been doing since the convention (none of which we will want to actually RP, but which I will incorporate into the article).

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@Faramount Judging from past experience, schedules don't work in practice. I've been part of both the ATARA and CIS founding ceremonies, as well as some ATARA lobbying event, and all of them struggled to progress despite clear schedules. The more people you invite, the worse it'll get - life gets in the way, people forget to write, they suffer from writer's block, etc... It often leads to a sloppy, half-finished RP, that only a few people remain dedicated to.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This makes sense to me. So why don't we cut to the negotiations now, and then players who arrive later can still do that as they come?

SSI, do you want to do a post opening the talks? I imagine it'd be your head of state making some comments about the importance of cooperation in maritime areas, then yielding the floor to the independent expert I'd be RPing?

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