Bernaerts' Guide _UNCLOS 1982
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Book page 72-73

Section: Part XIII, Articles 238-265

  Marine Scientific Research - UNCLOS 1982All states and competent international organizations may conduct marine scientific research[1]; they are, however, obligated to promote international co-operation in marine research for peaceful purposes[2] and to make known all pertinent information about such projects and the results available[3]. States are therefore to promote actively the flow of information and scientific data and the transfer of knowledge resulting from research, with particular emphasis on the transfer to developing states and the strengthening of the autonomous marine scientific research capabilities of such states[4]. Unless otherwise agreed, communications concerning projects are to be made through appropriate official channels[5], and the states are to seek through competent international organizations the establishment of general criteria and guidelines to assist the former in ascertaining the nature and implications of marine research[6]

All research on the high seas, i.e., in the water column over the Area and continental shelf beyond the limits of the exclusive economic zone[7] the water surface, and the atmosphere above, is open to all, on the condition that the basic premises of research for peaceful purposes only[8] and some general principles, including those of co-operation[9] are observed.

In the Area, the Sea-Bed Authority may carry out marine research on its own[10], just a s all states and competent international organizations[11]. The Authority is obligated to take measures to acquire technology and scientific knowledge as far as deep sea mining activities[12] are concerned, and to promote and encourage transfer to developing states of such knowledge and technology so that all States Parties benefit[13]. Other scientific research projects are to be undertaken with the co-operation of all states and organizations[14].

[1] Art. 238 (Art. 87 (l. f.)),  
[2] Art. 242, Para . 1,   
Art. 244, Para . 1, 
[4] Art. 244, Para . 2,   
Art. 250,  
Art. 251,   
Art. 257,  
[8] Art. 240, Subpara. (a),   Art. 88,  
[9] Art. 240-244,

[10] Art. 143, Para . 2,   
[11] Art. 256,  
[12] Art. 274,  
[13] Ibid; Art. 144, Subpara. 1 (b),   
Art. 143, Para . 2-3,  
[15] Art. 246, Para . 2; 56, 1 (b),   
Art. 248,   
[17] Art. 249, 

[18] Art. 253, Subpara. 1 (a); Art. 248,
[19] Ibid.,   
[20] Art. 249; Art. 253, Subpara. 1 (b),   
[21] Art. 248,  
[22] Art. 252; Art. 247,   
Art. 242,  
[24] Art. 243,  
[25] Art. 251

 Within the exclusive economic zone and on the continental shelf (the “outer shelf”), the coastal states have been given control over marine scientific research[15] with very little influence left for other states and international organizations. Consent of the coastal state is required for any type of research carried out in these zones, and any states or international organizations planning marine research must provide the coastal state with a detailed description of the project at least six months before the anticipated commencement of the research activities[16]. The research must be conducted in accordance with certain requirements, in particular the right of the coastal state to participate in the project if it so desires[17] and to suspend any research activities in progress if they are not being conducted in accordance with the information provided[18] on which the consent of the coastal state was based[19] or if the state or organization conducting the research fails to comply with minimum conditions[20]. Only if the coastal state has not raised any objections or refused approval of the project within four months after receipt of the required information[21] may the project proceed after six months[22]; however, this procedure will not appear as much of an improvement in the eyes of the scientific community.

The long-term solution to such problems will be found in co-operation[23] global and regional agreements[24] and the establishment of guidelines[25].


[1] Art. 238 (Art. 87 (l. f.)),   [2] Art. 242, Para . 1,   [3] Art. 244, Para . 1,  [4] Art. 244, Para . 2,   [5] Art. 250,   [6] Art. 251,   [7] Art. 257,   [8] Art. 240, Subpara. (a),   Art. 88,   [9] Art. 240-244,   [10] Art. 143, Para . 2,   [11] Art. 256,   [12] Art. 274,   [13] Ibid; Art. 144, Subpara. 1 (b),   [14] Art. 143, Para . 2-3,   [15] Art. 246, Para . 2; 56, 1 (b),   [16] Art. 248,   [17] Art. 249,   [18] Art. 253, Subpara. 1 (a); Art. 248,   [19] Ibid.,   [20] Art. 249; Art. 253, Subpara. 1 (b),   [21] Art. 248,   [22] Art. 252; Art. 247,   [23] Art. 242,   [24] Art. 243,   [25] Art. 251     

Marine Scientific Research - UNCLOS 1982

Book published:
1988 Fairplay/UK,
2005 (reprint) by

Trafford Publishing,
1663 Liberty Drive Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403, Canada.

329 pages, ISBN 1-4120-7665-x;

Available via online-contributer 




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Bernaerts' Guide to the 
1982 United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea


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Bernaerts Guide -UNCLOS 1982

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Preface of the reprint in 2005

More than 15 years ago FAIRPLAY PUBLICATIONS Ltd, Coulsdon, Surrey, England, published the book "Bernaerts' Guide to the Law of the Sea - The 1982 United Nations Convention". The guiding potential of the book to find access to the Law of the Sea Convention is still given. Internet technology and publishing on demand invite to provide the interested reader and researcher with this tool again. Only the Status of the Convention (ratification etc) has been updated and instead of the Final Act, the book edition includes the "Agreement relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea" of 1994. The corresponding web site neither includes the text of the 1982 Convention, nor the Agreement of 1994. The thorough Index of the 1988 edition is reproduced without changes.
Arnd Bernaerts, October 2005,
Comments 1988-1990
___"an invaluable guide to the understanding and implementation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea"
Satya N. Nandan, U.N. Undersecretay, in: Book Foreword, 1988
__"clearly presented" R.R. Churchill, in: Maritime Policy & Management 1989, p. 340
__"the (book's) concept, which is so wonderful simple, is exactly the factor which makes the book so useful for both the novice as well as the person with extensive experience"
M. Bonefeld, in: Verfassung und Recht, 1989, pp. 83-85
__"the work contains much useful background information…." R.W. Bentham, in: Journal of Energy & Natural Resource Law, 1989, p. 336
__"Bernaerts has saved us a struggle" JG, in: Fairplay Shipping Weekly Magazin, 13th October 1988, p. 33
__"this is probably the best edition on the Convention to put into the hands of students"
A.V. Lowe, in: Int'l and Comparative Law Quarterly 1990, p. 16
__"it will be an invaluable reference tool and should sit on the book shelves of policy makers and all others who are involved in maritime matters"
Vivian I. Forbes, in: The Indian Ocean Review, May 1990, p.10

Bernaerts’s Guide to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

FOREWORD of the 1988 edition
by Satya N. Nandan
Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Law of the Sea Office for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea

Revolutionary changes have taken place in the International Law of the Sea since 1945. The process of change was accelerated in the last two decades by the convening in 1973 of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. The protracted negotiations, spanning over a decade, culminated in the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982. By 9 December 1984, the closing date for signature, 159 signatures were appended to the Convention, the largest number for any such multilateral instrument in the history of international relations.

The Convention, which was adopted as a comprehensive package, introduced a new equity in the relationship among states with respect to the uses of the ocean and the allocation of its resources. It deals, inter alia, with sovereignty and jurisdiction of states, navigation and marine transport, over flight of aircraft, marine pollution, marine scientific research, marine technology, conservation and exploitation of marine living resources, the development and-exploitation of marine non-living resources in national and international areas, and unique provisions dealing with the settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the new regime.

There is no doubt that as we approach the 21st century, more and more attention will be paid to the uses of the oceans and the development of their resources. It is important, therefore, that these developments should take place within a widely accepted legal framework so that there is certainty as to the rights and obligations of all states. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides that framework. It establishes a standard for the conduct of states in maritime matters. It is thus a major instrument for preventing conflicts among states.

The convention and its annexes contain over 400 articles. For many it may be a formidable undertaking to grasp the substance and structure of it without making a considerable investment in time and energy. Mr Bernaerts' guide, therefore, is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature on the convention. It provides a most useful reference tool which will benefit administrators and policy makers, as well as scholars. It makes the convention accessible to the uninitiated and refreshes, at a glance, the memories of the initiated. With meticulous references and graphic presentations of the provisions of the convention, Mr Bernaerts has given to the international community an invaluable guide to the understanding and implementation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
April 1988

PREFACE (extract) of the 1988 edition

The reader will be aware that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the first constitution of the oceans, a ground-breaking document in many respects. He or she might also have made the discovery that the full text of the Convention is immediately accessible only to experts. If the Convention were only a treaty consisting of straightforward technical regulatory provisions, it could be left to them with a clear conscience. But the Convention is to a large extent a political document and, as such, is expected to influence significantly the development of relations among the states in the world community; for this reason, a wide-spread knowledge of the scope, goals, and regulatory framework of the Convention can only serve to further the aims of the document and would surely follow the intentions of the many men and women who made this Convention their life-work, such as Arvid Pardo (Malta), Hamilton Shirtey Amerasinghe (Sri Lanka), Tommy T. B. Koh (Singapore), and Satya N. Nandan (Fiji), to name only a few of the hundreds who worked on the preparation of this Convention.
As the reader uses the Guide (Part II), he will find that many provisions of the Convention are much easier to understand if one knows the basic framework within which a particular regulation is placed. The Guide aims to provide this framework, with reference to the text of the Convention and, in addition, t& the supporting Commentary of Part III, which describes the overall context of the major terms arid concepts. The Introduction of Part I sketches the historical background of the Convention and some of the general effects. A detailed index at the end of the book will be of assistance in finding specific subjects.


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