Freedom of Navigation (FON) Rights

About: Freedom of navigation (FON) is a principle of customary international law that ships flying the flag of any sovereign state shall not suffer interference from other states, apart from the exceptions provided for in international law.

These include the right of innocent passage through; navigational rights through international straits; navigational rights in the archipelagic waters; navigational rights in the exclusive economic zone; and navigational rights on the high seas. The Freedom of Navigation Operations involves passages conducted by the US Navy through waters claimed by coastal nations as their exclusive territory.

In the realm of international law, it has been defined as “freedom of movement for vessels, freedom to enter ports and to make use of plant and docks, to load and unload goods and to transport goods and passengers”. This right is now also codified as Article 87(1)a of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


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