Tribunals setup by UNCLOS would have excessive power over U.S. Navy
There are even more complex problems. UNCLOS sets up a special law of the sea tribunal with jurisdiction to interpret provisions of the Convention that apply equally to military and non-military uses of the sea. Although military uses can be excluded from the purview of the tribunal by particular states on ratifying the UNCLOS (article 298.1.b), a decision interpreting the UNCLOS's language relating to "innocent passage" or "transit passage" through straits, even if rendered in a case involving only non-military activities, would necessarily apply also to military uses. The distinction between military and non-military application of the tribunal provisions is thus untenable. Moreover, even if the United States and other naval powers take advantage of this available exclusion, nothing they do can stop other states from having their own military activity adjudicated by the tribunal. Despite the fact that the tribunal's decision binds only the parties before it, the tribunal's interpretation of a provision of the UNCLOS that applies equally to all parties affects international correspondence in ways potentially disastrous to American naval power.
Acceding to UNCLOS would expose the U.S. to lawsuits on virtually any maritime activity, such as alleged pollution of the marine environment from a land-based source or through the atmosphere. Regardless of the merits, the U.S. would be forced to defend itself against every such lawsuit at great expense to U.S. taxpayers. Any judgment rendered by an UNCLOS tribunal would be final, could not be appealed, and would be enforceable in U.S. territory.