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Contracting Parties  >   United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea > Malta 

SignatureDecember 10, 1982
RatificationMay 20, 1993
Entry into forceNovember 16, 1994

Declarations, Reservations etc.

Declaration made upon ratification:
"The ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is a reflection of Malta's recognition of the many positive elements it contains, including its comprehensiveness, and its role in the application of the concept of the common heritage of mankind.
At the same time, it is realized that the effectiveness of the regime established by the Convention depends to a great extent on the attainment of its universal acceptance, not least by major maritime States and those with technology which are most affected by the regime.
The effectiveness of the provisions of Part IX on `enclosed or semi-enclosed seas', which provide for cooperation of States bordering such seas, like the Mediterranean, depends on the acceptance of the Convention by the States concerned. To this end, the Government of Malta encourages and actively supports all efforts at achieving this universality.
The Government of Malta interprets articles 69 and 70 of the Convention as meaning that access to fishing in the exclusive economic zone of third States by vessels of developed land-locked and geographically disadvantaged States is dependent upon the prior granting of access by the coastal States in question to the nationals of other States which have habitually fished in the said zone.
The baselines as established by Maltese legislation for the delimitation of the territorial sea, and related areas, for the archipelago of the islands of Malta and which incorporate the island of Filfla as one of the points from which baselines are drawn, are fully in line with the relevant provisions of the Convention.
The Government of Malta interprets article 74 and article 83 to the effect that in the absence of agreement on the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf or other maritime zones, for an equitable solution to be achieved, the boundary shall be the median line, namely a line every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points of the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial waters of Malta and of such other States is measured.

The exercise of the right of innocent passage of warships through the territorial sea of other States, should also be perceived to be a peaceful one. Effective and speedy means of communication are easily available, and make the prior notification of the exercise of the right of innocent passage of warships, reasonable and not incompatible with the Convention. Such notification is already required by some States. Malta reserves the right to legislate on this point.
Malta is also of the view that such a notification requirement is needed in respect of nuclear-powered ships or ships carrying nuclear or other inherently dangerous or noxious substances. Furthermore, no such ships shall be allowed within Maltese internal waters without the necessary authorization.
Malta is of the view that the sovereign immunity contemplated in article 236, does not exonerate a State from such obligation, moral or otherwise, in accepting responsibility and liability for compensation and relief in respect of damage caused by pollution of the marine environment by any warship, naval auxiliary, other vessels or aircraft owned or operated by the State and used on government non-commercial service.
Legislation and regulations concerning the passage of ships through Malta's territorial sea are compatible with the provisions of the Convention. At the same time, the right is reserved to develop further this legislation in conformity with the Convention as may be required.
Malta declares itself in favor of establishing sea-lanes and special regimes for foreign fishing vessels trans versing its territorial sea.
Note is taken of the statement by the European Community made at the time of signature of the Convention regarding the fact that its Member States have transferred competence to it with regard to certain aspects of the Convention. In view of Malta's application to join the European Community, it is understood that this will also become applicable to Malta on membership.
The Government of Malta does not consider itself bound by any of the declarations which other States may have made, or will make, upon signing or ratifying the Convention, reserving the right, as necessary, to determine its position with regard to each of them at the appropriate time. In particular, ratification of the Convention does not imply automatic recognition of maritime or territorial claims by any signatory or ratifying State."