Norwegian Baselines, Maritime Boundaries and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
With the signing of the recent agreement with Russia concerning the maritime boundary in the Barents Sea, it can finally be said that all the maritime delimitation lines with which Norway is concerned have been equitably resolved in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This paper reviews the events, difficulties, survey procedures and solutions that have led to the completion of the Norwegian maritime boundary definitions. The various UNCLOS concepts of baselines and maritime domains (Territorial Waters, the Contiguous Zone, and the Exclusive Economic Zone) are explained, and reference is made to important national and international decrees and judgments that have been made over the years. Particular attention is drawn to the impact and importance of geodetic considerations on maritime boundary definitions. Practical consequences have arisen through not taking these geodetic impacts into account, especially since the advent of satellite navigation systems has enabled much improved positioning accuracy out of sight of land, while enormous natural resources have been identified and are being extracted from national maritime domains. The article gives an account of the solutions to these geodetic difficulties that have been negotiated with neighbouring nations.
Keywords: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS, base- line, territorial sea, contiguous zone, Exclusive Economic Zone = EEZ, maritime boundaries, geodetic datum, Norway, Jan Mayen, Svalbard, Bouvet Island.
Citation: Arctic Review on Law and Politics, vol. 3, 1/2012 p. 108–129. ISSN 1891-6252
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