UN'S LAW OF THE SEA TO TAKE EFFECT NEXT YEAR

UN'S LAW OF THE SEA TO TAKE EFFECT NEXT YEAR

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, opened for signature 11 years ago, has been ratified by the required 60 states and will enter into force Nov. 16, 1994, a U.N. report said.

The 60th ratification was deposited with the United Nations by Guyana Nov. 16. The treaty takes effect one year from that date.The convention was opened for signature at a meeting at Montego Bay, Jamaica, in December 1982, which crowned nine years of negotiations by the Law of the Sea Conference, one of the longest and most complex in diplomatic history.

The convention, which covers virtually all uses of the world's oceans and their resources, has been signed by 159 states but most have not ratified it.

Among the major industrial nations, the United States, Germany and Britain have not even signed the treaty, mainly because of objections to its provisions for mining ore-bearing rocks on the deep ocean bed, beyond national jurisdiction.

The convention declares these nodules, containing nickel, copper,

manganese and cobalt, to be the common heritage of mankind.

The United States, in particular, regards the convention's seabed mining regulations as restrictive and inimical to private enterprise.

Private mining consortiums would have to be licensed by an international seabed authority and be obliged to transfer certain technology to enable the authority to conduct mining operations of its own.

But even countries objecting to the mining rules have few reservations about other parts of the 320-article convention, which many countries already are applying.

They include giving every state the right to establish a 12-nautical-mile territorial sea limit and a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone in which coastal states have control of all natural resources, including fish, oil and minerals.

There are also provisions for peaceful navigation through these zones and for ships and aircraft passing though narrow straits.

Japan, France and Russia are among countries that have signed the convention but not ratified it.

Additional ratifications are likely if the problems over seabed mining are resolved.

Informal consultations on this issue have been continuing since July 1990 among a large number of countries, but agreement has proved elusive.