Contiguous means ‘nearby’. It is the part of sea which is beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea of the coastal state.
Article 33 of the UN Convention on Law of Sea
In a zone contiguous to its territorial sea, described as the contiguous zone, the coastal State may exercise the control necessary to:
- Prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea.
- Punish infringement of the above laws and regulations committed within its territory or territorial sea.
The contiguous zone may not extend beyond 24 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.
Contiguous Zone between two States
When there are two states which are opposite or adjacent to each other then there emerges the need of some sort of agreement which can define the zone for both the states not beyond median line for each.