NUS Centre for International Law series
Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh and Robert Beckman
Chapter 4: Maritime delimitation and offshore features
Delimitation of maritime areas between States whose coasts are adjacent or face each other (or are in any intermediate position between these extremes as described by the 1958 Geneva Conventions and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)) is a task which has become increasingly important since the jurisdiction of coastal States has extended, beyond the territorial sea, to the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone, as well as to other zones under coastal State jurisdiction beyond the outer limit of the territorial sea. The political importance of, and the need for certainty in maritime delimitation has been clearly underscored by the International Court of Justice (ICJ): The establishment of a permanent maritime boundary is a matter of grave importance and agreement is not easily to be presumed. A de facto line might in certain circumstances correspond to the existence of an agreed legal boundary or might be more in the nature of a provisional line or of a line for a specific, limited purpose, such as sharing a scarce resource.
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