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1958 Four Law of the Sea conventions  are adopted. Following Senate approval, the United States ratifies these treaties in 1961.

1970 President Nixon’s Ocean Policy Statement  proposes the negotiation of a new multilateral treaty setting forth a legal framework for the oceans, including provisions that would treat the resources of the deep seabed as the common heritage of mankind.

1973-82 Negotiation of the Law of the Sea Convention . Convention is finalized on December 10, 1982.

1982 President Reagan states  that the United States will not sign the Convention due to its provisions relating to deep seabed mining.

1983 President Reagan’s Ocean Policy Statement  declares that the United States will accept and act in accordance with the provisions of the Convention relating to traditional (non-seabed) uses of the ocean, such as navigation and overflight.

1990-94 Negotiation of an Agreement  to modify the deep seabed mining provisions of the Convention. Agreement is finalized on July 28, 1994.

1994 The Convention and the 1994 Agreement are transmitted to the Senate for its advice and consent. Transmittal Package  (S. Treaty Doc. 103–39).

2004 Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes 19-0 in support of joining the Convention. Senate Report  (Sen. Exec. Rpt. 108–10; includes hearings). A vote of the full Senate does not take place.

2007 President Bush urges  the Senate to approve U.S. accession to the Convention. Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes 17-4 in support of joining the Convention. Senate Report  (Sen. Exec. Rpt. 110–09); SFRC Hearing Report  (S. Hrg. 110–592). A vote of the full Senate does not take place.

2012 Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds four hearings  on the Convention; no vote is taken.


The following organizations and companies have expressed support for U.S. accession to the Law of the Sea Convention, as modified by the 1994 Agreement.

American Bar Association
American Chemistry Council
American Exploration and Production Council
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
American Geological Institute
American Geophysical Union
American Petroleum Institute
American Sportfishing Association
AT&T Inc
Biotechnology Industry Association
Boat Owners Association of the United States
Center for a New American Security
Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia School of Law
Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America
Chamber of Shipping of America
Citizens for Global Solutions
Defenders of Wildlife
Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc.
Environmental Defense Fund
Independent Petroleum Association of America
International Association of Drilling Contractors
International Seakeepers Society
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Joint Ocean Commission Initiative
Kelly Energy Consultants
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Level 3 Communications LLC (LVLT)
Marathon Oil Corporation
Marine Conservation Institute
Maritime Law Association of the United States
Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Military Officers Association of America
National Association of Manufacturers
National Fisheries Institute
National Governors Association
National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Ocean Industries Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
North American Submarine Cable Association
Ocean Conservancy
Pacific Crossing Limited and PC Landing Corp.
RARE, The Association for Rare Earth
Rowan Companies, Inc.
Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans
Seafarers International Union of North America, AFL-CIO
Telecommunications Industry Association
The Financial Services Roundtable
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International
The Nature Conservancy
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Tyco Telecommunications (US) Inc. (“Tyco Telecom”)
United Nations Association of the USA
United Nations Foundation and Better World Fund
United States Oil and Gas Association
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
World Shipping Council
World Wildlife Fund US

U.S. Department of State

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