DOD challenged 22 'excessive maritime claims' in FY-22, says Freedom of Navigation report

By Nick Wilson / April 21, 2023 at 4:34 PM

The Pentagon released the unclassified version of its annual Freedom of Navigation report today, tallying 22 instances of U.S. forces pushing back on "excessive maritime claims" made by 15 different actors during fiscal year 2022.

These claims include a variety of restrictions imposed on the exercise of navigation, violating international law established in the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention, according to a Friday DOD release.

China tops the list with five violations involving the attempted restriction of sea and airspace in the South and East China Seas.

The report lists two infractions by Iran for attempting to limit transit through the Strait of Hormuz and prohibit foreign military activities in its exclusive economic zone. The United Arab Emirates and Montenegro are also listed with two violations each.

Antigua and Barbuda, Croatia, Malaysia, Malta, Nicaragua, Oman, Russia, Somalia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Yemen round out the list with one violation each.

“If left unchallenged, excessive maritime claims could limit the rights and freedoms enjoyed by every nation,” the announcement states.

“Upholding freedom of navigation as a principle supports unimpeded lawful commerce and the global mobility of U.S. forces. DOD's freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) demonstrate that the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” the release adds.