The Emerging Law Of The Deep Seabed Beyond The Limits Of National Jurisdiction

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


The deep seabed has been proven to be a storehouse of manganese nodules. The access to these resources is no longer out of human reach. Many theories have been offered as applicable to the exploitation of the mineral resources of the deep seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.This dissertation deals with the issue of the deep seabed from the time of the Maltese initiative, that the deep seabed is the "common heritage of mankind," until the adoption of the 1982 L.O.S. Convention.The theories of res nullius and res communis, the 1958 Continental Shelf Convention, the freedom of the high seas doctrine as well as the concept that the deep seabed is a tabula rasa are discussed.The outcome of this dissertation is that since the inception of the "common heritage of mankind" concept and the adoption of the moratorium and the Declaration of Principles resolutions, these General Assembly resolutions are declaratory of customary international law, especially the Declaration of Principles resolution which embodies principles which have crystallized in law independent of the status and nature of the instrument that formulated them (the United Nations General Assembly). Thus, the deep seabed is governed by the Declaration of Principles resolution until the entry into force of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. The final conclusion is that the world community is best served by a comprehensive law of the sea treaty than without it.



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