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There are numerous unresolved international legal problems which may affect the exploitation and investigation of the ocean. Most of the uncertainties probably will not be resolved for several years. There will be increasing international discussion and negotiation regarding the law of the sea in the future. United States industry and government should continue to analyze the issues involved and begin to formulate positions on some of the key issues. The recent report of the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and Resources is a significant part of this process.
A number of different legal frameworks govern the use of different areas of the world's oceans. For the purposes of this discussion, the following frameworks will be distinguished: (1.) internal and territorial waters, (2) continental shelf, (3) contiguous zone, and (4) high seas, including the bed and subsoil. These distinctions are significant for the exploitation of mineral and living resources of the sea, as well as for the conduct of scientific investigations at sea. 
Internal Waters and Territorial Sea
The coastal nation generally has full control over the exploitation of mineral and living resources, and the conduct of scientific investigation, within its internal waters and territorial sea, including the resources of the seabed and subsoil of these areas. Except as may be limited by treaty, under international law each coastal nation may establish or enforce its rules of law in its internal waters and territorial sea. The coastal nation may exclude anyone from exploring or exploiting any resources in these waters. These claims of the coastal nation are recognized even with regard to living resources which usually live in the high seas, so long as such resources are found in the territorial waters.
The International Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone provides that the sovereignty of the coastal nation extends beyond its land territory and its internal waters "to a belt of sea adjacent to its coast, described as its territorial sea" and "to the air space over the territorial sea as well as to its bed and subsoil."  The Convention does not specify the breadth of the territorial sea, and national claims vary from three nautical miles to 200 miles or more. The position of the United States has been that no claim to a width greater than three miles has received sufficient acceptance to be a rule of international law. However, there are some indications that the United States may be moving toward a 12-mile limitation for purposes of the territorial sea. This would generally be in accord with the majority of nations which agrees that the width of the territorial sea is no greater than 12 miles. 
The coastal nation's "internal waters" consist of the waters "on the landward side of the baseline of the territorial sea," as well as the rivers, lakes, and canals within its land area. 
The "normal baseline for measuring the breadth of the territorial sea is the low water line along the coast."
I. THE REGIME OF THE CONTINENTAL SHELFA.
One point should be emphasized at the outset: the definition of the continental shelf under international and federal law has no relationship to the geologic definition. To the geologist the continental shelf starts with the upland coastal plain and extends seaward to the brink of the continental slope which typically occurs at approximately 200 meters (656 feet).1/ From the standpoint of international law, however, the continental shelf begins at the seaward limit of the territorial sea, at least three miles from the low-water mark of the coastline, and extends to a depth of 200 meters and possibly far beyond, depending upon the technological exploitability of the area in question.2/ Figure I shows a typical section of the continental shelf in profile.
The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which is the federal vehicle for the mineral development of the nation's offshore areas, incorporates the broad scope of international law in providing that it is applicable to "all submerged lands lying seaward and outside of [state-owned lands] and of which the subsoil and seabed appertain to the United States and are subject to its jurisdiction and control."3/ Both the international and the federal definitions may include, therefore, areas that would be known to the geologists as continental slope, continental rise, and continental borderlands, rather than continental shelf.4/ It is in this broad sense of a submarine area over which the coastal state has jurisdiction that the terms "continental shelf" or "outer continental shelf" will be used, the latter term being simply a reference to the continental shelf of the United States.5
Because the continental shelf begins at the point where the territorial sea terminates, the effects of the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone which was incorporated into the domestic law of this country is very significant.6/ Figures 2, 3 and 4 show the application of the criteria of such Convention in determining the limits of the territorial sea.
B. The Truman Proclamation
It is clear that prior to 1945 there was no internationally recognized appropriation or right of appropriation to submarine areas outside of a nation's territorial sea, whether the same were continentalshelf or otherwise. There was a great deal of interest, particularly in the United States, regarding the offshore development of oil and gas but it was directed largely to lands underlying the territorial sea, the three-mile coastal belt. In 1945, however, President Truman issued his landmark proclamation in which he expressed the view that "the exercise of jurisdiction over the natural resources of the subsoil and sea bed of the Continental Shelf by the contiguous nation is reasonable and just" and proclaimed
"... the Government of the United States regards the natural resources of the subsoil and sea bed of the continental shelf beneath the high seas but contiguous to the coasts of the United States as appertaining to the United States [and] Subject to its jurisdiction and control."7/
The Truman Proclamation, which is set forth in full in Appendix A, gave impetus to a number of claims by other coastal states of submarine areas as "continental shelf" but there was a decided lack of uniformity in them.
Chien, Lien-Kwei (Dept. of Harbor and River Engineering and Coastal Disaster Prevention Research Center National Taiwan Ocean University) | Tseng, Wen-Chien (Dept. of Harbor and River Engineering and Coastal Disaster Prevention Research Center National Taiwan Ocean University) | Chang, Chih-Hsin (National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction) | Hsu, Chih-Hsiang (CECI Engineering Consultant, Inc)