1   Short title

   2   Interpretation


Declaration of Archipelagic State

   3   Declaration of Archipelagic State


Internal Waters

   4   Internal Waters


Archipelagic Waters

   5   Sovereignty in archipelagic waters

   6   Archipelagic baselines

   7   Status of existing submarine cables

   8   Right of innocent passage in archipelagic waters

   9   Right of archipelagic sea lanes passage


Jurisdiction of courts in relation to territory of Jamaica

   10   Jurisdiction of courts


Territorial Sea

   11   Sovereignty in the territorial sea

   12   Limits of territorial sea and application of laws with reference thereto

   13   Innocent passage in the territorial sea

   14   Criminal jurisdiction

   15   Civil jurisdiction

   16   Ships of war and other government vessels operated for non-commercial purposes


Provisions relating to archipelagic waters and the territorial sea

   17   Vessel carrying nuclear or other dangerous or noxious substances

   18   Non-innocent passage


Contiguous Zones

   19   Limit of contiguous zone

   20   Criminal jurisdiction in contiguous zone


Continental Shelf

   21   Limit of continental shelf

   22   Rights in and jurisdiction over continental shelf



   23   Ship or person having immunity of State of registration or nationality

   24   Powers of Marine Officer

   25   Proceedings against the Crown or Marine Officer.

   26   Power of Minister

   27   Offences

   28   Regulations

   29   Repeal of certain enactments



[Date of Commencement: 28th November, 1996]

Act 25 of 1996.


1   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Maritime Areas Act.

2   Interpretation

   In this Act-

   "archipelagic waters" means the archipelagic waters of Jamaica as defined in section 5 (a);

   "competent authority" means the Minister or any person designated by him as such for the purposes of this Act;

   "contiguous zone" means the contiguous zone of Jamaica as defined in section 19;

   "continental shelf" means the continental shelf of Jamaica as defined in section 21;

   "foreign vessel" means a vessel the nationality or registration of which is not Jamaican;

   "internal waters" means the internal waters of Jamaica as defined in section 4;

   "Jamaica" has the same meaning as in the Jamaica Independence Act;

   "Marine Officer" means any officer employed to the Customs Department, any game warden approved as such under the Wild Life Protection Act, any member or officer of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, any member or officer of the Jamaica Defence Force or any public officer designated by a Fishery Inspector under the Fishing Industry Act and any other public officer designated a Marine Officer by the Minister;

   "Montego Bay Convention" means the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea signed in Montego Bay on the 1st day of December, 1982;

   "nautical mile" means the International Nautical Mile of 1,852 meters;

   "territorial sea" means the territorial sea of Jamaica as defined in section 12;

   "vessel" includes any ship, canoe, lighter, floating platform, decked boat, carrier vessel, vessel equipped with inboard or outboard motor or other seagoing vessel, whether surface craft or submarine or any other underwater vessel.

Declaration of Archipelagic State

3   Declaration of archipelagic State

   Jamaica is hereby declared to be an archipelagic State.

Internal Waters

4   Internal waters

   The internal waters comprise the areas of the sea which are on the landward side of the closing lines within the archipelagic waters which may be prescribed for the purposes of defining the internal waters.

Archipelagic Waters

5   Sovereignty extends to in archipelagic waters

   The sovereignty of Jamaica as an archipelagic State extends to-

   (a)    the waters enclosed by archipelagic baselines, drawn pursuant to section 6, and described as archipelagic waters, regardless of the depth or distance from the coast; and

   (b)    the air space over the archipelagic waters as well as their bed and subsoil and the resources, living and non-living, contained therein.

6   Archipelagic baselines

   (1) The archipelagic baselines shall consist of straight baselines joining the outermost points of the outermost islands and drying reefs of Jamaica.

   (2) The breadth of the territorial sea, the contiguous zone and the continental shelf shall be measured from the archipelagic baselines.

7   Status of existing submarine cables

   Where, at the commencement of this Act, there are submarine cables which have been laid by a foreign State and which pass through the archipelagic waters without making a landfall, such cables shall remain in place; and the maintenance and replacement thereof shall be authorised by the competent authority upon the competent authority being notified of their location and the intention to repair or replace them.

8   Right of innocent passage in archipelagic waters

   (1) Subject to the power of the Minister to designate sea lanes passage or air routes pursuant to section 26(1)(b) and without prejudice to his power under section 26(1)(a) to prescribe closing lines for defining internal waters, all vessels enjoy the right of innocent passage through the archipelagic waters in accordance with the provisions of section 13.

   (2) The competent authority may by order published in the Gazette, suspend temporarily, in any area of the archipelagic waters specified in the Order, the innocent passage of foreign vessels if such suspension is essential; for the protection of the security of Jamaica.

9   Right of archipelagic sea lanes passage

   (1) The sea lanes passage and air routes referred to in section 8 shall be suitable for the continuous and expiditious passage of all vessels and aircraft through or over the archipelagic waters and the adjacent territorial sea.

   (2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, all foreign vessels and aircraft enjoy the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage, that is to say, the right of navigation and over-flight in the normal mode solely for the purpose of continuous, expeditious and unobstructed transit between one part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone and another part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone.

   (3) A foreign vessel shall, in exercising the right of archipelagic sea lanes passage-

   (a)   observe international regulations, procedures and practices for safety at sea and the prevention, reduction and control of pollution from ships; and

   (b)   comply with the provisions of any enactment having effect with regard to the archipelagic waters in relation to-

         (i)   the safety of navigation and the regulation of marine traffic including the operation of traffic separation schemes;

         (ii)   fishing vessels and the control of fishing including the stowage of fishing gear, and

         (iii)   customs, excise, immigration or sanitation controls in respect of the loading or unloading of any commodity, currency or person.

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