U.S. ratification of UNCLOS necessary to protect underseas cables and secure further rights for the industry
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Even if the LOSC fails to classify subsea attack as piracy with full recourse to the convention's robust remedies, it does proscribe depredations against cables and pipelines under the high seas and the EEZ. As discussed above, the traditional rights of U.S. cable owners outside of territorial waters have been victimized by a dearth of enforcing legislation. By delaying the ratification of the LOSC, this lack of effective prosecution persists.157
World telecom companies rightly believe that the LOSC facilitates more confident investments than simply operating under the bare aegis of customary international law.158 Simply defending against customary law encroachments does not deter underwater attack, but with U.S. ratification, U.S. telecom and energy companies as well as the U.S. Navy could seek greater government assistance in enforcing propert rights and undersea infrastructure security outside of territorial seas.159 Moreover, all U.S. stakeholders would have a firmer basis in holding other states responsible for their loss.160
As a condition for ratifying LOSC, the United States could take the helm in updating the convention to meet new military and commercial paradigms since it was first drafted three decades ago. Such revisions may include one or more of the following proposals.
Currently the vital U.S. underseas cable industry has to rely on the outdated 1884 telegraph treaty for its legal basis when defending its rights to lay, maintain, and repair underseas cables. U.S. ratification of UNCLOS would better protect U.S. companies’ existing cable systems and foster additional investments by giving telecommunications the legal certainty to their claims that they need.