International waters

Areas outside exclusive economic zones in dark blue.

The terms international waters or trans-boundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water (or their drainage basins) transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regional seas and estuaries, rivers, lakes, groundwater systems (aquifers), and wetlands.[1]

International waters (high seas) do not belong to any State's jurisdiction, known under the doctrine of 'Mare liberum'. States have the right to fishing, navigation, overflight, laying cables and pipelines, as well as scientific research.

Oceans, seas, and waters outside national jurisdiction are also referred to as the high seas or, in Latin, mare liberum (meaning free sea). The Convention on the High Seas, signed in 1958, which has 63 signatories, defined "high seas" to mean "all parts of the sea that are not included in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State" and where "no State may validly purport tosubject any part of them to its sovereignty."[2] The Convention on the High Seas was used as a foundation for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed in 1982, which recognized Exclusive Economic Zones extending 200 nautical miles from the baseline, where coastal States have sovereign rights to the water column and sea floor as well as the natural resources found there.[3]

The high seas make up 50% of the surface area of the planet and cover over two thirds of the ocean.[4]

Ships sailing the high seas are generally under the jurisdiction of the flag state (if there is one);[5] however, when a ship is involved in certain criminal acts, such as piracy,[6] any nation can exercise jurisdiction under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction. International waters can be contrasted with internal waters, territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.

International waterways

Komárno in Slovakia is an inland port on the Danube River which is an important international waterway.

Several international treaties have established freedom of navigation on semi-enclosed seas.

Other international treaties have opened up rivers, which are not traditionally international waterways.

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Хы хуит
العربية: مياه دولية
asturianu: Alta mar
azərbaycanca: Neytral sular
беларуская: Адкрытае мора
български: Открито море
català: Alta mar
Deutsch: Hohe See
español: Alta mar
euskara: Itsas zabal
français: Haute mer
한국어: 공해 (바다)
հայերեն: Բաց ծով
hrvatski: Otvoreno more
Bahasa Indonesia: Perairan internasional
lietuvių: Atviroji jūra
македонски: Меѓународни води
Bahasa Melayu: Perairan antarabangsa
日本語: 公海
norsk nynorsk: Internasjonalt farvatn
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Ochiq dengiz
português: Alto-mar
Qaraqalpaqsha: Ten'iz maydanı
Simple English: International waters
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Otvoreno more
тоҷикӣ: Баҳри кушод
українська: Міжнародні води
Tiếng Việt: Hải phận quốc tế
中文: 公海