Greece and the Law of the Sea: A Greek Perspective

  • Anastasia Strati
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


On 21 July 1995, Greece ratified the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (hereafter referred to as the LOS Convention).1 The political and substantive context of the Greek ratification of the LOS Convention has been discussed elsewhere.2 This chapter concentrates on the impact of the 1982 Convention on Greek law of the sea interests and more specifically on its implications for the Greek-Turkish dispute in the Aegean Sea. Since Turkey is not a contracting party to the LOS Convention, the primary issue in this regard is whether the Convention provisions reflect general customary law.


Continental Shelf Exclusive Economic Zone Geneva Convention Official Gazette Greek Island 
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  1. 2.
    See further A. Strati, ‘Greece’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’, Leiden Journal of International Law, 9 (1996), 105–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 3.
    See further, L. B. Sohn, ‘The Greek contribution to the development of the International Law of the Sea’, in Th. C. Kariotis, ed., Greece and the Law of the Sea (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1997), 1–20.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    In addition, Turkey challenges the 10-mile Greek national airspace and seeks to expand unilaterally the Istanbul Flight Information Region (FIR) to the middle of the Aegean, in violation of the existing conventional settlement of the Greek (Athens) and Turkish (Instabul) FIRs. A similar approach is pursued by Turkey in relation to the application of the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (1979) in the Aegean, and the determination of the respective zones of responsibility. See further A. Strati, ‘Postscript: tension in the Aegean, the Imia incident’, Leiden Journal of International Law, 9 (1996), 121–8, at 122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 17.
    For a different view see J. M. Van Dyke, ‘The Aegean Sea: options and avenues’, Marine Policy, 20 (1996), 397–404, at 401. It must be noted, however, that there is no rule of international law requiring states to abstain from extending their territorial sea to the maximum allowable limit if this would have the effect of cutting off the territorial sea of another state from the high seas. The only relevant provision in this respect is Article 7(6) of the 1982 Convention requiring states not to apply the straight baselines system in a manner that would cut off the territorial sea of another state from the high seas or an EEZ. However, Article 7(6) refers to the exceptional situation where the application of straight baselines by one state would inevitably deny another state access to the open sea other than through its internal waters, where no rights of navigation exist (see, for example, the case of Monaco). On the contrary, through the territorial sea all states enjoy the right of innocent passage. Furthermore, proposals to generalize the principle of Article 7(6) so as to cover the extension of the territorial sea to 12 nautical miles were not accepted at UNCLOS III.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. See R. Platzöder, The Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. Documents, Vol. IV (Dobbs Ferry, New York: Oceana Publications, 1982), 265.Google Scholar
  6. 28.
    Th. Kariotis, ‘The Case for a Greek Exclusive Economic Zone in the Aegean Sea’, Marine Policy, 14 (1990), 3–14 at 5–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Anastasia Strati

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