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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Submissions to the CLCS gather pace

(15 April 2009)

With less than a month now remaining for most coastal states to submit at least "preliminary information" concerning the outer limit of their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), submissions are starting to come through thick and fast.

On 31 March Ireland and the UK made separate but harmonious submissions concerning the continental shelf in the Hatton-Rockall Area in the northeast Atlantic. These were followed by a full submission by Uruguay on 7 April and a partial submission the Philippines relating to the Benham Rise to the east of Luzon on 8 April.

Executive summaries of all four submissions can be found on the UN Division of Ocean Affairs website. The British and Irish submissions are likely to be challenged by Denmark (on behalf of the Faroe Islands) and Iceland, both of whom believe that large parts of the Hatton-Rockall Area form part of their own continental margins. Neither the Uruguay nor the Philippines submission is likely to be subject to overlapping claims.

The Division of Ocean Affairs has also published details of the CLCS's recommendations relating to the first five submissions it received, i.e. those of Russia, Brazil, Australia, Ireland (concerning the Porcupine Abyssal Plain) and New Zealand. The Commission adopted recommendations concerning the submissions by France/Ireland/Spain/UK (Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay), Norway (North East Atlantic and Arctic) and Mexico (Gulf of Mexico) at the end of March, and details of these recommendations are expected to be published shortly.