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Most comprehensively viewed, the international law of the sea comprises two very different sets of principles. One set of principles, establishing certain basic, overriding community goals, prescribes for all states the widest possible access to, and the fullest enjoyment of, the shared use of the great common resource of the oceans. The other set of principles, commonly described as jurisdictional, expresses certain implementing policies designed economically to secure the basic community goals of shared use by establishing a shared competence among states in a domain largely free from the exclusive public order of any particular state. The main outlines of the overriding principles prescribing shared use have long withstood the attacks of exclusionary national egoism: the great bulk of the oceans are communis juris, not subject to exclusive appropriation by any particular state; in the interest of the fullest, peaceful, conserving use for the benefit of all mankind, all states are free in complete equality, upon condition of making necessary accommodation for the like freedom of others, to participate to the utmost extent of effective capability in the shared use of this great common resource; the exclusive competence of states is strictly confined to that assertion of authority which is reasonably necessary to protect both their inclusive interest in the shared use of the oceans and their exclusive interest in securing their internal processes from invasions and deprivations originating at sea.

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