The legal regime of archipelagic waters
in The law of the sea
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This chapter details the special legal regime that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea lays down for archipelagos belonging to archipelagic States. The latter are States (such as Indonesia and the Philippines) that consist exclusively of one or more archipelagos and possibly other islands. An archipelagic State may draw lines around the outermost points of an archipelago, known as archipelagic baselines, from which its maritime zones (territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf) are delineated. The waters enclosed by archipelagic baselines are known as archipelagic waters. They are subject to the sovereignty of an archipelagic State. Nevertheless, other States have the right for their ships to traverse archipelagic waters under the regime of innocent passage (on which, see chapter four), and in routes normally used for international navigation, the more extensive right of archipelagic sea lanes passage, which is akin to transit passage through straits (on which, see chapter five). Immediately neighbouring States may also exercise traditional fishing and other non-navigational activities in archipelagic waters.

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