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Territorial waters, or a territorial sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles from the baseline of a coastal state. The territorial sea is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state, although foreign ships are allowed innocent passage through it; this sovereignty also extends to the airspace over and seabed below. The term "territorial waters" is also sometimes used informally to describe any area of water over which a state has jurisdiction, including internal waters, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and potentially the continental shelf. (via Freebase)