UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS) provides an essential universal legal framework within which issues respecting the stewardship of our common oceans may be equitably resolved and which preserves customary freedom of navigation vital to ocean powers such as the U.S. for both strategic and commercial reasons. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted unanimously to approve a resolution of advice and consent on February 25, 2004. Unfortunately, the full Senate did not vote on the treaty before the 108th Congress adjourned.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee acted on the LOS Convention once again in the 110th Congress. Hearings were held during September 2007 and on October 31, 2007 the Committee voted, 17-4, to approve the treaty. On December 19, 2007 the resolution of ratification for the Convention was reported and placed on the Executive Calendar of the Senate. Unfortuantely, with little time remaining before the 110th Congress adjourns, it is unlikely that the LOS Convention will be brought to the Senate floor for a vote.
As with all treaties that are reported but not acted upon by the full Senate during a particular Congress, the treaty reverts to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee upon adjournment and remains pending until such time as the Committee takes subsequent action.