UNCLOS provisions directly support and improve ability of Coast Guard to complete its law enforcement and homeland security missions
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Other Coast Guard missions that the Convention would promote include port and maritime security, law-enforcement, and environmental protection. While guaranteeing rights of innocent passage and the right to seek safe haven in the event of life-threatening storms and other conditions (which the law refers to asforce majeure),UNCLOS reemphasizes the jurisdictional rights of coastal states within their inland waters, such as harbors and rivers, and within the twelve nm territorial sea. As a result, the Convention would enhance the Coast Guard's ability to protect our nation's coastal security interests. The United States could use the provisions of UNCLOS effectively to combat excessive maritime claims, which can interfere with narcotics interdiction and other law-enforcement efforts. Several critical coastal states continue to claim territorial seas of 200 nautical miles, in violation of the Convention's twelve nm limit. These countries see our law-enforcement operations in their claimed territorial seas as violations of their sovereignty and are either reluctant or refuse to cooperate with proposed actions against vessels engaged in drug-smuggling interdicted in these disputed areas. Since we are not now party to UNCLOS, it is very difficult for us to argue credibly that they must give up these excessive claims. The result is that counter-drug bilateral agreements with these nations are difficult, interdiction efforts in their claimed territorial seas are hampered, and our negotiating ability to change the situation is compromised. The Convention also promotes our authority to protect our ocean waters, seashores, and ports from a wide variety of environmental threats. Admiral Thad Allen, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and the four previous Commandants have strongly advocated becoming party to UNCLOS as soon as possible, largely because it would promote the ability of the Coast Guard to accomplish its homeland security and law-enforcement missions.2
Ratification of UNCLOS would bolster U.S. national security in numerous ways, including: protecting all six core freedom of navigation rights, protect maritime interdiction rights, and supporting efforts to combat piracy.