San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Article examines the emergence of the concept of the "patrimonial sea" from the perspective of Latin American jurists who adhere to the tradition of regional particularism in international law, and considers the question of whether the "patrimonial sea" is lex lata or lex ferenda. The author argues that the realities of the development of new laws of the sea at the international and regional levels shattered the ideas that the vastness of the oceans would prevent serious pollution and that the wealth of the seabed is a "common heritage of mankind." The author presents some conclusions concerning liability for oil spills from offshore drilling operations and obstacles to the enactment of domestic, regional, and international rules aimed at avoiding future disasters like IXTOC I.