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Nov 2014

22 Nov. 2014: At Sea.

Today we were sailing along the coast of Namibia towards Luanda in Angola. Around 7 pm this evening we passed the border between the two countries, although today there was very little to see of the coast. We are staying about 12 miles out and cloud formations over the land make it not so easy to see the low lying coast land. We are at least 12 miles out, to stay out of any form of territorial waters, and that might need a little bit of explanation. The world Seas and Oceans have been parceled up and allocated to the surrounding countries to ensure that everybody knows what belongs to whom. The system is not completely fail safe and we read regularly in the newspapers about countries quarreling over miniscule islands that are hardly big enough to pitch a tent on. However if the island is miniscule, the territorial sea around it makes it interesting to get even very small bumps of land under control. Who has the right to own what is governed by UNCLOS, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Every country who has signed this treaty is bound by the boundaries it sets. Which means that you can only bicker about what land (Island) is yours in order to extend the area of sea under your control. There are several boundaries, called Maritime Zones. 1. Where the land ends. This is the base line and that is normally the low water line of a state. Everything inland of that line are the inland waters of a country. Example: for deep sea ships here inland water way rules apply. 2. Then the next line can be 1 kilometer away or 3 miles and defines where certain Local and National Laws are still applicable. Example: Florida has a sales tax on drinks. It applies also to cruise ships when they are within the 3 mile zone of the Florida Coast. 3. The next line is the 12 mile zone line. This is called the territorial sea. Here a country can apply all its National laws. Example: A […]

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