Oceanographic and Naval Deployments of Expendable Marine Instruments Under U.S. And International Law
Ocean Development & International Law, Vol. 27, p. 311, 1995
45 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2011
Date Written: November 15, 1995
United States government and civilian vessels and aircraft annually deploy tens of thousands of expendable marine instruments into the world's oceans. The instruments may be active only few minutes or for as along as several years, but once they cease operation, they sink to the floor of the ocean. The devices are essential to collect data about the water column for use in naval operations, oceanographic and scientific research, commercial ocean industry, and to promote safe navigation. With burgeoning world-wide environmental awareness and tightening of environmental rules, questions naturally arise about the legality of the practice under U.S. and international law. Deploying expendable marine instruments has been virtually ignored by lawyers in the United States and abroad, but this condition is eroding. This article suggests that the practice may be problematic under U.S. environmental law. Perhaps more importantly, under the Law of the Sea, coastal states are beginning to assert jurisdiction over the practice as far as 200 nm from their coastlines. This trend already regulates oceanographic deployments of expendable marine instruments and promises to impinge on naval deployments of the devices as well.
Keywords: unmanned, drones, expendable, autonomous, robots, Navy, UUV, underwater, antisubmarine, bathythermograph, marine scientific research, military surveys, EEZ, maritime power
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