The 1945 Truman Proclamation relating to the right to explore and exploit resources of the sea bed

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September 28, 1945 marked the time when the U.S. ventured in the exploitation of sea resources such as oil and gas. President Truman issued a proclamation in favour of the country to explore and exploit these minerals under United States policy (Frazier 2009, p.3). The Truman Proclamation firmly consolidated the distinction between the question of the legal regime governing fisheries resources beyond the territorial sea and the regime governing mineral resources. As far as the legal concept of the continental shelf was concerned, its main characteristics were established as a natural prolongation of the state’s land territory (Currie, Forces & Oosterveld 2007, p.403). The Proclamation established a clear separation between the territorial sea and shelf, in which the coastal state could not extend its sovereignty, but only under its jurisdiction and control. According to Byers (1999, p.91), the Truman Proclamation had been linked to the end of the social and economic needs of World War II where the development of technology in the United States began to generate national interest in exploration and exploitation of off-shore oil fields. This had very significant legal implications, bearing in mind that for hundreds of years, sea resources had not been exploited under any regulation by any state. Following this proclamation, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation in 1953 in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), which addressed the control of resource exploitation at the continental shelf by both the federal and state authorities. By so doing, the government wanted to ensure that natural resources at the coast and in the sea were exploited but in the right and legal manner. This perhaps would lead t... ... middle of paper ... ...conomic fishing zone (EFZ) and 24 nm for contiguous coastal zones by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (Currier, Forcese & Oosterveld 2007, p.404). This saw the eventual transmission of U.S. views to other parts of the world since the UN had adopted the same laws. In conclusion, the regime of law on the continental shelf convention in regards to exploitation of natural resource was historically developed from President Truman Proclamation. After the US proclaimed it sovereignty to utilize sea’s natural resources, the country embarked on coming up with new laws that sought to ensure control of these sea portions. The Truman Proclamation can be said to have affected many legislative initiatives all over the world with regard to use of the sea subsoil and the waters in general. Most of these legal effects are still felt to hitherto.

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