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Flashcards in Commander's Handbook Deck (15):

International Waters

for operational purposes, international waters include all ocean areas not subject to the territorial sovereignty of any nation. International waters include contiguous zones, exclusive economic zones, and high seas.


Internal Waters

Internal waters are landward of the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured.


Territorial Seas

The territorial sea is the belt of ocean that is measured seaward up to 12 nautical miles from the baseline of the coastal nation and subject to its sovereignty. Ships have the right of innocent passage in territorial seas, aircraft do not have the right of overflight.


Contiguous Zone

Extends seaward of the baseline up to 24 nautical miles in which the coastal nation may exercise control necessary to prevent or punish infringement of its customs, fiscal, and sanitary laws and regulations that occurs within its territory or territorial sea. Both ships and aircraft enjoy high seas freedom.


Exclusive Economic Zone

A resource related zone adjacent to the territorial sea- where a state has certain sovereign rights (but not sovereignty). May not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline.


Military Aircraft International Status

Military aircraft are "state aircraft" and like warships enjoy sovereign immunity from foreign search and inspection, subject to the right of transit passage, archipelagic sea lanes passage and entry in distress.


International Straits

Straits that are used for international navigation between one part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone and another part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone are subject to the legal regime of transit passage.


Transit passage

The exercise of the freedom of navigation and overflight solely for the purpose of continuous and expeditious transit in the normal modes of operation utilized by ships and aircraft for such passage.


What is allowed in a transit passage?

-Ships and aircraft shall refrain from any threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of the States bordering the strait.

-Shall refrain from any activities other than those incident to their normal modes of continuous and expeditious transit unless rendered necessary by force majeure or by distress

- May transit in a manner consistent with sound navigation practices and security of the force to include the use of electronic detection and navigation devices such as radar, sonar, depth-sounding devices, formation streaming, and the launching and recovery of aircraft.

-Submarines may be submerged


Assistance entry

allows aircraft and ships to enter territorial seas to assist those in danger of being lost at sea. Applies only when the location of those in danger or distress is reasonably well known. Aircraft and ships cannot enter foreign territory to perform a search.


Per OPORD 201, are aircraft allowed to enter PSAs and claimed TTS to render assistance to persons, ships, or aircraft in danger of being lost or in distress?

Yes, even in the absence of higher authority, but they must do so overtly. In the case of the Military Security Zone of North Korea, the United Nations Command must be notified.



protection and sanctuary granted by the United States Government within its territorial jurisdiction or in international waters to a foreign national... ...because of persecution, or fear of persecution on the account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.


When can you grant asylum

Any person requesting asylum in international waters or US territories will be received on board any U.S. or Marine Corps aircraft, vessel, activity, or station. Commanders of US aircraft and vessels are not authorized to receive foreign nationals in foreign territories.


When can U.S. Navy units grant temporary refuge?

May grant temporary refuge to a foreign national in a foreign territory solely for humanitarian reasons when extreme or exceptional circumstances put the in imminent danger the life or safety of a person, such as pursuit by a mob.


Can warships or military aircraft pursue pirates into territorial seas, archipelagic waters, or subjacent airspace of another country?

Yes. Every effort must be made to obtain consent for the nation having sovereignty to continue pursuit. The international nature of the crime of piracy may allow you to continue pursuit if contact cannot be established in a timely manner with the coastal nation.