International Cable Protection Committee

Sharing the seabed and oceans in harmony

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Government & Law

Updated Tuesday 29 May 2018
Convention on the Continental Shelf (1958) Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf) - 82 KB
NB: the 1958 Law of the Sea Conventions have been largely superseded by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Convention on the High Seas (1958) Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf) - 125 KB

Convention on the Territorial Sea (1958) Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf) - 123 KB

International Convention of March 14, 1884 for the Protection of Submarine Cables Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf) - 120 KB
The breaking or injury of a submarine cable, done wilfully or through culpable negligence, and resulting in the total or partial interruption or embarrassment of telegraphic communications, shall be a punishable offence, but the punishment inflicted shall be no bar to a civil action for damages.

Legal Regimes Chart Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf) - 89 KB
Chart prepared by the ICPC's International Cable Law Adviser showing the various legal regimes that apply to submarine cables in US national waters and beyond.

Security of International Submarine Cable Infrastructure: Time to Rethink? Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf) - 342 KB
Today's submarine cables form the backbone of an international network and are of strategic importance to the global economy. This network is designed to be resilient, however, there are threats that can disrupt the activities that we take for granted, such as the internet, telephone, use of ATMs and flight booking. These threats include those that are manmade such as fishing activities, ships anchors and emerging acts of piracy through to natural events such as earthquakes and landslides. The cable owners undertake activities during the planning, implementation and operation to minimize the impact of such threats. However when faults do occur it is important that they are repaired as soon as possible. This paper discusses some of the issues and looks at the role of UNCLOS and government in the repair of cables. It also covers examples where emergency repairs have been delayed due to the requirement for permits and suggests opportunities for improvement.

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