Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


In June of 1980, the President of the United States signed into law the Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources Act, a piece of national legislation that will most definitely have international repercussions. The developing nations of the world are strongly opposed to unilateralism on the part of any nation, contending the minerals of the deep seabed belong to all nations and, therefore, the benefit from the exploitation of those minerals should likewise be shared by all nations. Why then, against such firm opposition from the less developed countries of the world, did the United States opt for unilateralism instead of waiting for an international agreement to regulate the resources of the deep seabed? This paper proposes to examine whether unilateral exploitation by the United States of the deep seabed beyond the limits of its national jurisdiction is authorized by existing international law, and secondly, is such legislation actually necessary? Are the vital interests of the United Stntes served by such legislation or will the international reaction be detrimental to U.S.interests abroad?