The contiguous zone
in The law of the sea
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The contiguous zone is a zone of sea contiguous to and seaward of the territorial sea, extending up to 24 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. In the contiguous zone, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides that States have limited powers for the prevention and punishment of breaches of customs, fiscal, sanitary and immigration laws. The chapter begins by explaining the development of the concept of the contiguous zone and how the zone is delineated. Noting that a State must assert its right to a contiguous zone, the chapter considers claims made to a contiguous zone. It then addresses the legal status of the zone in detail, notably the scope of coastal State jurisdiction and the extent to which States claim contiguous zones for purposes other than those expressly set out in UNCLOS.

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