Myth 2: The United States surrenders sovereignty by joining the Convention.
Again, reality offers a different conclusion. Indeed, some have even characterized UNCLOS as a "U.S. land grab" as it expands U.S. sovereignty and rights throughout extensive maritime territory off America's coastlines. It provides a 12-mile territorial sea subject to U.S. sovereignty, U.S. sovereign rights over resources within a 200mile exclusive economic zone, and U.S. sovereign rights over resources on and under the sea floor to the edge of the continental margin, which extends well beyond 200 miles in several areas-up to 600 miles to the edge of the continental shelf off Alaska, for instance. Also, the dispute-resolution mechanism provides flexibility in terms of both the forum and the exclusion of subject matter that touches sovereignty concerns. And, the navigational provisions, especially for international straits and archipelagic passage, ensure that the nation's warships and public vessels-as sovereign U.S. "territory"-enjoy global maritime mobility and access without requiring prior permission from coastal states.