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6 Differences in Territorial Sea and High Sea Based on Comprehension

by Zidni

Indonesia is one of the countries that has the largest archipelago in the world. Nearly half of the area is covered by the ocean, which is approximately 5.6 million km with a coastline of 81,000 km. So do not be surprised if Indonesia is dubbed a maritime country. By having enough marine potential, we can take everything from the sea.

We can take advantage of it through adequate fish supply, while in other cases, we can maximize the diversity of the sea as one of the tourist potentials that is easy to visit and attracts tourists both domestic or foreign tourists, although there are still many who do not understand the principles of managing natural resources that are good for the sea.

There are several groups of categorization of the sea in Indonesia, one of which is the territorial sea and the high sea. Well, on this occasion we will discuss the differences in the territorial sea and the high sea, read thoroughly.

Territorial Sea

First, we will discuss the territorial sea. A territorial sea is a number of Indonesian coastal sovereignty areas except for the land area and the surrounding waters.

Whereas according to UNCLOS 1982, the territorial sea is a basic baseline which has a width of about 12 nautical miles. Just like other archipelago countries such as Japan and Malaysia, the definition of the territorial sea can also consist of sea lanes which are directly adjacent to the islands’ waters.

Sovereignty over this territorial area includes the airspace and the sea floor and the land beneath it. This means that for countries that have and determine the provisions of territorial areas like this, it is ensured that ships or aircraft can cross the area.

Therefore, if a foreign plane or ship is found to have violated the territorial sea boundary, it can be processed legally because the area is still included in the country concerned. Not on the basis of law, the state establishes territorial boundaries, because this matter has been expressly regulated even by the United Nations namely through the results of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The differences from the territorial sea with the high sea are:

  • The boundary of Indonesia’s sea area is as far as 12 nautical miles from a straight baseline, while the ZEE or its exclusive economic zone is 200 miles from the seabed line.
  • The territorial sea boundary in Indonesia is closely guarded by the Navy which is ready to impose sanctions if there are any foreign vessels or aircraft that violate Indonesian sovereignty regarding territorial sea areas.

In addition, the rules in the territorial sea waters are quite complicated. This is due to the increasing development of the Indonesian territory, especially the Indonesian sea and the territorial sea. The increase in shipping activities in this territorial area includes cargo ships and fishing vessels. Yet there are still many problems related to disputes over border areas with neighboring countries of Indonesia.

Because of the reason, the government should have emphasized more on the regulations dealing with the boundaries of Indonesia’s sea territory, especially its territorial territory, which became the sea liner of foreign ships. If we get in conflict with neighboring countries, automatically we can trigger conflict between neighboring countries. Standard and clear rules are also needed so that Indonesia can resolve territorial sea disputes.

Territorial Sea Concept

The concept of the territorial sea originates from the differences in the territorial sea and the high sea of ​​our interests to eradicate violations of national borders and as a media for promotion of shipping and trade midwives in a country. This provision also serves as a permit for the state to expand its jurisdiction over its sea boundaries in order to provide security to a country.

When viewed from the territorial concept, the territorial sea is clearly an extension of its territorial land. Within the territorial sea area, the peaceful sea traffic rights for foreign vessels are enforced as we discussed above. Foreign vessels that have agreed to practice the right of peaceful sea crossing are prohibited from doing the following:

  • Conduct threats or violence against unity, territorial integrity or the political independence of the coastal state
  • Conduct research activities
  • Interferes with the communication system
  • Pollution
  • As well as intentionally carrying out activities that are not related to peaceful sea cross rights

In relation to these cross-border rights, the coastal state has the right to regulate its sea territory by making regulations relating to:

  • Shipping safety
  • Sea traffic regulation
  • Help and navigation tools
  • Protection of submarine cables and pipes
  • Safeguarding the natural wealth of marine life
  • Violation of fishing
  • Environmental preservation
  • Pollution control
  • Marine scientific research
  • Use of hydrographic surveys
  • Prevention of customs, fiscal and immigration violations

In the sense that this peaceful traffic voyage must be carried out continuously, while the use of anchors in the sea area is only needed as a navigation need or when facing a dangerous situation by reason of providing assistance to someone, a ship or aircraft that experiences danger.

High seas

High seas are marine waters that are not included in the territorial sea category or inland waters of a country. Whereas according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 article 86 stipulates that the high sea is all parts of the sea that are not part of an exclusive economic zone, territorial sea or in the interior waters of the archipelago of a country. Here are some characteristics that differentiate high sea from the territorial sea:

  • It is clear that this does not reduce the freedom that belongs to the exclusive economic zone at all.
  • If viewed from Law No. 31 of 2004 concerning Fisheries, the high sea is a part of the sea that is not included in the exclusive economic zone, the territorial sea of ​​Indonesia, the waters of Indonesia’s borders or rather, it is not an Indonesian territory. The principle of utilizing the high sea uses “shared heritage of mankind”.
  • This means that the benefits of the high sea in terms of the natural resources contained in it must be utilized and used by all human beings without the monopoly of the state or the superpower.

Although this principle applies to the high sea, it must still be equipped with supervision, because the rules of freedom without supervision will create factors of social change and chaos. The surveillance that is carried out is in the form of provisions regarding freedom so that even though it seems free, it does not reduce the rights and obligations owned by the state.

These rights and obligations include the provision of adequate search and rescue facilities and environmental conservation efforts. On the other hand, the Convention on the Law of the Sea emphasizes that this high sea can only be used only for peaceful sea crossings so that the state is not arbitrary to claim a sea territory. According to Article 87, several freedoms can be established in the high sea, including:

  • Freedom of sailing
  • Freedom of flight
  • Freedom to install submarine cables or pipes in accordance with the rules of the Sea Convention
  • Freedom to establish artificial islands in accordance with international law
  • Freedom to catch fish according to the rules
  • Freedom to carry out scientific research that refers to the rules and laws of the high sea

Indonesia as areas with many islands must have strong supervision. In terms of the sea, we are indeed experiencing difficulties in carrying out supervision. This is also exacerbated by the condition of our ships being used to carry out surveillance because the condition is now no longer feasible.

Not only do you collect used vessels, but you also must immediately replace them with a better one. So even though we are separated into several parts of the high sea, what is more important is the conservation of the sea to safeguard all the interests of the nation whether from the territorial sea or the high sea.

Now, you have a better understanding on the difference between the territorial sea and the high sea. Hopefully, this explanation can add insight to your knowledge, especially in the field of social science and be useful in the future.

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