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The Difference Between An Island And A Rock, According To UNCLOS

The distinction between islands and rocks is relevant for territorial disputes between countries and for determining the rights and responsibilities of coastal states and other states using the surrounding waters for navigation, fishing, and other activities.

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๐ƒ๐จ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐›๐ž๐ญ๐ฐ๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐š๐ง ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š ๐ซ๐จ๐œ๐ค, ๐š๐œ๐œ๐จ๐ซ๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐”๐๐‚๐‹๐Ž๐’?ย 

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the distinction between islands and rocks is based on their ability to sustain human habitation or economic life.

Islands are defined as naturally formed areas of land surrounded by water that can support economic activity or human habitation.

UNCLOS
National Hydrographic Centre

 

In contrast, rocks are land features surrounded by water that cannot support human habitation or economic activity.

The distinction is important because it affects the maritime entitlements of the land feature and surrounding waters, including territorial seas, exclusive economic zones, and continental shelves. Islands are entitled to the full range of maritime zones, while rocks are only entitled to a territorial sea up to 12 nautical miles.

UNCLOS
National Hydrographic Centre

 

The distinction between islands and rocks is relevant for territorial disputes between countries and for determining the rights and responsibilities of coastal states and other states using the surrounding waters for navigation, fishing, and other activities.

— credit: Facebook Page of National Hydrographic Centre

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