Rada intending to double zone of Ukrainian control in Black Sea
Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has adopted in first reading a bill on the legal status of the adjacent zone of Ukraine. If adopted, the bill would increase almost double the amount of territory Ukraine controls in the Black Sea.
Some 238 deputies supported the corresponding bill (No. 8361) at a plenary session of parliament on Thursday.
“This bill will allow de facto to double the territory under Ukraine’s control in the Black Sea,” said deputy (Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction) Iryna Friz, a co-author of the bill.
"The adjacent zone, according to international standards, is neither a zone of jurisdiction nor a zone of sovereignty. The zone is the part of the sea space where any coastal state can exercise limited control using preventive measures or detention [for violations] based on certain rules,” she said.
According to the bill, the adjacent zone of Ukraine will be the sea area adjacent to the territorial sea of Ukraine and whose outer border is at a distance of 24 nautical miles (they are counted from the same base lines as the territorial sea of Ukraine). The territorial waters of Ukraine are 12 miles.
Ukraine in this territory, if the bill is adopted, will exercise control and jurisdiction necessary to prevent violations of customs, fiscal, immigration and health regulations, as well as to punish violation of these rules.
The competent state authorities of Ukraine will have the right to stop, inspect, detain and arrest vessels and crew members in the adjacent territory, if there is reason to believe that the vessel is in violation of Ukrainian laws.
According to the draft law, if there are sufficient grounds to believe that a foreign ship violated Ukrainian legislation and is attempting to escape, Ukraine authorities will be able to pursue the vessel and detain it.
Ships which shutting off the automatic identification system in the adjacent zone, except Ukrainian warships or ships guarding the border, can be stopped and inspected, according to the bill.
As noted in the preamble of the document, this draft law complies with the provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.