The incidents of terrorism have multiplied and so have the routes through which the terrorists reach their targets. There is a threat of a terrorist attack from the sea route aimed at targets on the land. Until now the academic scholarship as well as treaty practice has focused on challenges of terrorism to the safety of navigation rather than terrorist threats originating from the sea. Efforts at treaty making in this direction in the past are inadequate to address the problem. This article analyses the legal framework within which response may be undertaken to neutralize a terrorist threat through preventive action or after the terrorist act has been committed. It is argued that it is possible for a coastal state to stay within the purview of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and take necessary actions against a terrorist vessel. All states are under an international obligation to suppress terrorism. Moreover, the UNCLOS mandates that the seas and oceans have to be used for peaceful purposes. There may not be an explicit reference to taking action against a terrorist vessel, yet there is adequate support for such an action as per the interpretation of various provisions of the UNCLOS. Although the extent of control exerted by the coastal state in the territorial sea, contiguous zone, continental shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and the high seas varies yet in all these maritime zones coastal states can undertake necessary actions.
Recommended CitationAniruddha Rajput, Maritime Security and Threat of a Terrorist Attack, 34 Pace Int'l L. Rev. 1 (2022)
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