• Short Summary


    One of the most ambitious treaties in history -- a code of laws for the world's oceans -- is due to be opened for signature on December 6 in a special ceremony at Montego Bay, Jamaica.

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    1. CARACAS, VENEZUELA, 1974. GV EXTERIOR TILT DOWN Conference building. GV INTERIOR Delegates applaud as President Echeverria enters (2 shots) 0.13
    2. AUSTRALIA: GV Ship in rough sea at Thursday Island. CU Bows of boat (2 shots) 0.21
    3. UNDERWATER SHOT Coral reef with fish (2 shots) 0.29
    4. AERIAL VIEW Oil tanker at sea. AERIAL VIEW Oil installation and storage tanks. GVs oil rigs drilling at sea (5 shots) 0.52
    5. GV & SV Hughes' Glomar Explorer drilling ship (5 shots) 1.17
    6. UNITED NATIONS, MAY 4, 1982: US delegate James Malone speaking 2.17
    7. ATLANTIC OCEAN OFF SPANISH COAST, SEPTEMBER 1982: GVs Greenpeace ship. TRAVELLING SHOT Greenpeace dinghy. Ship dumping nuclear waste. GV Waste dropped on Greenpeace dinghy, man goes overboard. GVs Greenpeace vessel coming into harbour (13 shots) 3.37
    SPEECH (TRANSCRIPT) (SEQUENCE SIX): MALONE: "This is not a happy conclusion for the United States. We recognise that many of us come to these negotiations with different perspectives and diverse interests. Indeed, there are even differences of opinion on the meaning of the common heritage of mankind, and the consequences that flow from that concept. Despite our differences we have held to the conviction that negotiations and compromise would produce a convention serving the interests of all states. Unfortunately, in our view, the treaty before us does not meet those standards. The greatest tragedy..... of this treaty is that it will not bring more orderly and productive uses of the deep sea bed to reality. It also does not serve the broader goal of bringing the developed and developing countries closer together."

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved


    One of the most ambitious treaties in history -- a code of laws for the world's oceans -- is due to be opened for signature on December 6 in a special ceremony at Montego Bay, Jamaica. Although the United States has opposed the Law of the Sea Treaty and a number of nations, including Britain, have so far abstained from voting on the document there is no doubt that the complex package dealing with every conceivable matter affecting the world's oceans from the aircraft that fly over them to the minerals and oil that lie on or under the seabed -- represents a triumph of international diplomacy.

    SYNOPSIS: It was in 1974 that the conference held its first working session. It was agreed that the riches of the seabed should be the common heritage of mankind. But it was not until last April that the treaty was finally endorsed by 130 nations with 17 abstaining -- including Britain -- and four against including the United States.

    The treaty covers a whole host of maritime legal complexities and at the same time attempts to balance the interests of leading industrial and maritime countries and those of poor, landlocked countries. At stake is who controls the vast untapped mineral resources on the ocean floor -- the world community or multi-national mining concerns.

    Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the case of oil potential. At the heart of the US refusal to sign the treaty is the bargain whereby the industrialised countries who sign it will undertake to share the mineral riches of the sea bed with the Third World. The US rejects this.

    But at the moment there are only five consortia in the world capable of contemplating the high costs of deep sea mining. And experts say the only ship adequate to the task is the Glomar Explorer which was built by millionaire Howard Hughes in 1974. But the issue of sharing mineral riches fled the United States to reject the treaty. US Delegate at the United Nations James Malone explained why.

    The Greenpeace ship Syrius ploughs through rough Atlantic seas off Spain. Its mission: to stop the dumping of nuclear waste in the sea. Hopefully, the Law of the Sea will prevent scenes like these. But it may still be a long time before measures on pollution are enforced. And also a long time before the Law of the Sea comes safely into harbour like the Greenpeace ship. The treaty is expected to be open for signature for two years and the Soviet bloc is already reported as being interested in a "mini treaty" along with the United States and others to open up the deep ocean beds as they see fit.


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