You are on page 1of 5


On 10 Dec 1982, the UN convention on the law of the sea was opened for signature at Montego Bay, Jamaica. this marked the culmination of over 14 years of works involving participation by more than 150 countries responding all region of the world, all legal and political systems, all degrees of socio-economic development. They comprised coastal systems, geographically disadvantaged states, archipelagic states, island states and land locked states. These countries convened for the purpose of establishing a comprehensive regime dealing with all matters relating to the law of the sea, bearing in mind the problem of ocean space are closely interrelated and needed to be considered as a whole. The fruits of their laboures are embodied in the law of the sea (UNCLOS). 2. The article will highlight the development of UNCLOS III with relevance to the success and failure of ONCLOS II and UNCLOS III. Aim 3. The aim of the article is fto discuss the development of INCLOS III

History of Development of UNCLOS III 4. Important milestones of law of the sea convention can be summarized as follows: a. 1930 League of Nations Codification Conference at Hague prepared a draft on legal states of territorial sea. b. 1945 Truman proclamation in USA in 1945 on the Continental Shelf and Fisheries Conservations marked the starting point of contemporary development of LOS. c. d. 1958 UNCLOS-I, participated by 87 countries and adopted 04 conventions. 1960 UNCLOS II, attended by 88 states.

f. 1968 the General Assembly established an Adhoc Committee to study the peaceful uses of the seabed and ocean floor. g. h. 1973 UNCLOS III convened in accordance with General Assembly regulation 3067. 1982 - 10 Dec, UNCLOS III was opened for signature.

j. 1994 UNCLOS III came in to force on 16 Dec 1994. Separate agreement on part 11 of the conventions was open for signature. k. 1996 part 11 of UNCLOS III entered into force on 28 Jul 1996.

Success and Failure of UNCLOS I 5. UNCLOS I was conveyed in FEB 1958 in Geneva and participated by 87 countries. It produced 4 conventions and an optional protocol governing several aspect of the law of the sea. These are: a. b. c. d. e. 6. Territorial sea and contiguous zone. The continental Shelf The high sea. Fishing and conserving of the living resources of the High seas. Optional protocol on compulsory settlement of dispute.

It left many question unsettled including: a. b. The maximum breadth of the territorial sea. The extent of coastal states fishery s jurisdictions.

Success and Failure of UNCLOS II 7. UNCLOS II was attended by 88 states to deal with the unsolved territorial sea and fisheries issues. It narrowly failed to adopt a 6 nm territorial sea plus a 6 nm exclusive or partially exclusive fishery zone. UNCLOS III 8. It comprises 320 articles and 9 annexes including all aspect of ocean spaces from delimitations to conventional control, scientific research, economic and commercial activities, technology and settlement of disputes relating to ocean matters. Major Achievement of UNCLOS III 9. The followings are some of major achievement of UNCLOS III. a. It provides for equitable distribution and use of common wealth of the ocean. b. Sovereign rights of the coastal states up to 12 nm, described as territorial sea. c. Economic interests of the coastal states are protested up to 200nm EEZ and 350nm continental shelf. d. Freedom of the high seas is conferred. e. Protections of the marine environment are ensured. f. Present system of marine scientific research ensured. g. So far (up to Jul 2011) 157 countries of the world signed the UNCLOS III and 162 have ratified. Conclusion 10. The UNCLOS III is marked as one of the most accepted and supported, and successful treaty laws. The development of such a comprehensive law took a long period. UNCLOS I & II were the first steps though they failed universal consensus. Finally, after the relentless effort by the expertise, UNCLOS III was convened and took its present shape. The law has ensured fair and equal access to a common resources and use of the sea. No doubt, for the foreseeable future, UNCLOS III will regulate the activities across the spaces of the ocean.

MARITIME BOUNDARY DISPUTE AND DELIMITATION OF MARITIME ZONE Introduction 1. The oceans are common resources to the shared by all the people of the world. Free access to the ocean allows nations to enjoy advantages of the living resources of sea, efficient and low cost means of transportation and undersea mineral resources. The United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea-1982 (UNCLOS III) coastal states sovereign rights over the sea area to explore and exploit resources. This has raised the nation s effort to delimit and delineate their maritime zone for strategic and economic benefits. So claiming of sea areas before enforcement of UNCLOS III and these historically claimed zones raised a lot of unsettled dispute between states. These disputes can be settles by the relevant provisions of UNCLOS III. 2. Bangladesh being one of the most overpopulated countries and relatively poorly endives with natural resources has special reason to be interested in drawing her maritime zone. But the sea area of Bay of Bengal is not precisely delimited. Bangladesh and her neighbor India and Myanmar promulgated their own claims in regards to the delimitation of various maritime zones and boundaries. These claims overlap and encroach upon each other s areas and thus have disputes. 3. With this backdrop, this article will discuss the existing claims of Bangladesh along with the contradiction with UNCLOS III and highlight the existing disputes with her neighbors. Then it will suggest procedures to settle those disputes via the provisions of UNCLOS III. Aim 4. The aim of this paper is to study the maritime boundary disputes of Bangladesh and options for delimitations her maritime zones. Maritime Zone of Bangladesh Present Claims 5. Bangladesh claims her maritime zones by enacting act no XXVI of 1974 The Territorial Waters and Maritime Zone Act 1974 , long before the enforcement of UNCLOS III. Her existing claims are as follows: a. Baselines. Bangladesh law fixed 08 floating geographical points along 10 fathom isobaths to draw a straight baseline considering peculiar deltaic and deeply indented coastline. 12nm from the baseline. b. Territorial Waters. c. Contiguous Zone. 06nm outward of territorial waters (18nm from baseline) d. Economic Zone. 200nm from baseline. Maritime Zones as Per UNCLOS III 6. Under UNCLOS III, a nation s sea areas are divided in 05 distant zones. a. Internal Waters. Waters on the landward side of the baseline. Extended up to 12 nm from the baselines. For b. Territorial Sea/Archipelagic Waters. archipelagic states, their archipelagic waters are defined as territorial sea. c. Contiguous Zone. Extended up to 24 nm from the baseline. Can be claimed up to 200nm from the baselines. d. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). e. Continental Shelf. Extended up to 200nm or some cases 350nm from the baselines.

The Problems and Areas Of Dispute 7. Bangladesh claims her Maritime zones and established the baselines long before the enforcement and existence of UNCLOS III. The following problems and areas of disputes can be summarized which are existing after implication of UNCLOS III and counter claims by the neighboring countries India and Myanmar. a. The baseline set out 10 fathom or 60 feet of water is not in conformity with the UNCLOS III. b. Bangladesh claims her zone on equitable basis, considering her peculiar coastal areas and highly unstable coastline. But India and Myanmar claims on equidistance basis. Thus their EEZ demarcation line cut the western and eastern EEZ portion of Bangladesh. c. Both India and Myanmar do not accept our claim of baselines. d. Both India and Myanmar do not accept the method of delimitation of sea zones. e. The ownership of Talpotti island is not yet resolved. Existing Difficulties for Drawing Baselines and Boundary The existing difficulties and disputes can be summarized as follows: a. The baseline claimed by Bangladesh has not yet been recognized by India and Myanmar. b. Coastal terminal point with India has not yet been agreed upon due to the issue of South talpatti. c. The choice of projection for reference chart is to be the same and yet to be agreed upon. d. The scale of reference chart is to be the same. e. No joint survey carried out. f. No common chart datum has been established. g. Overlapping claim on disputed island.

Recommendation 8. In light of the above analysis, following recommendations are made in order to delineate and delimit the baseline and maritime zone of Bangladesh: a. Territorial waters and maritime zone act 1974 may be amended as necessary by the exprties in conformity of UNCLOS III. b. Complete hydrographic survey of our area and submit chart by 2005. c. Established unified chart datum. d. We must take advantages of reefs like St Martines reef declaring as low tide elevation and building permanent structure on it as per Art 6 and 13 of UNCLOS III. e. A joint committee may be formed among Bangladesh, India and Myanmar for joint survey and subsequent settlement of the dispute. f. We must raise our claims to ICJ for equitable share of the bay. g. Diplomatic initiative must be taken, above all, to solve the existing dispute. h. BN may be used on instrument to take the leading role for survey and subsequent approaches