A total of three UN conferences designed to elaborate international laws regarding different aspects and uses of the world oceans and sea. The first of these conferences—the first UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS I)—took place in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1958. The second (UNCLOS II) was held in the USA in 1960; and the third (UNCLOS III), which took over eight years to negotiate, was signed in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1982. Some of the areas covered include the limits of the territorial sea and the continental shelf, the passage of ships through the territorial sea, the nature of rights and conditions for exploration on the continental shelf, the limit of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the rights of landlocked and geographically disadvantaged states, prevention of pollution of the high seas, ocean and sea-bed mining and conservation of the living resources of the sea. All through the 16th and 17th centuries, the prevalent thought governing the use of the world’s seas and oceans was that these resources belonged to no one in particular and were thus subject to use by everyone. This thought was generally captured in the doctrines of mare liberum (the freedom of the sea) and res nullius (the sea belongs to no one), both articulated and advocated by leading thinkers of the time, especially Dutch lawyer Hugo Grotius. Apart from a narrow strip of water generally regarded as the natural extension of the national territory of coastal countries (hence the name territorial sea), the vast portion of the sea was deemed as belonging to no one in particular and subject to use by anyone on the basis of first come, first served. Following, however, a number of developments in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, such as advances in technology, need for pollution control, population growth and security concerns, many coastal countries began to express the need for the extension of their territorial seas. This condition soon led to claims and counter-claims over various portions of the sea by neighbouring coastal states, as well as threats of seizure and confiscation of military and commercial ships. Desirous to forestall a breakdown of law and order, the UN convened the first Conference on the Law of the Sea in 1958 to determine the limit of territorial sea and to elaborate laws regarding other aspects of the ocean. In UNCLOS I four conventions were agreed. These included a convention on the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, a convention on the continental shelf, a convention on the 203high seas and a convention on fishing and conservation of the living resources of the sea. Although UNCLOS I is generally regarded as a success, the issue of the limits of the territorial sea could not be determined. In 1960 UNCLOS II was convened to address this issue, but the conference failed to resolve the matter. Following a moving speech by the Permanent Representative of Malta at the UN in December 1967 regarding the abundance of precious minerals in the sea-bed and the need for conservation and pollution prevention, the General Assembly agreed to organize a third conference on the law of the sea to elaborate a more comprehensive law on the use of the sea, as well as to resolve the outstanding issue of the limits of the territorial sea. The negotiation of UNCLOS III lasted from 1968 until 1982, when it was concluded in Montego Bay, Jamaica. UNCLOS III has been described as the most comprehensive conference ever organized by the UN. The convention has more than 320 articles and nine annexes (some of which themselves have up to 40 articles). The conference entered into force on 16 November 1994 on the deposition of the 60th instrument of ratification by Guyana. As of 18 October 2006, a total of 150 states and entities (such as the European Union) are parties to the convention. The USA is the only member of the UN Security Council and NATO that has yet to ratify the convention. The USA is opposed to the conference because it declares that the sea-bed beyond the jurisdiction of states is a common heritage of mankind and that the mining of seabed minerals should be supervised directly by the UN rather than subject to appropriation by the industrialized countries.