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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago sign maritime boundary agreement

(27 April 2010)

On 22 April 2010, Grenada's prime minister Tillman Thomas and his Trinidadian counter-part Patrick Manning signed an agreement in Port-au-Spain delimiting a maritime boundary between the two Caribbean states. The vast majority of the agreed boundary follows a single line determined by two identified points, approximately 60 nautical miles in length. From the north east endpoint, the boundary then extends briefly along a line of azimuth to reach the as yet undetermined tripoint with St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Although the geographic situation of the two island states appears to be straight forward, the agreed boundary is located significantly farther north of a notional median line. This may reflect the slightly longer coastline of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in relation to Grenada but the exact criteria for delimitation is not clarified in the agreement.

Maritime boundary negotiations between Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago restarted in 2009 after failing to reach consensus during talks in the 1990s. Trinidad and Tobago delimited its maritime boundary with Venezuela in 1990 and with Barbados through a 2006 decision of an arbitral tribunal established under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This is Grenada's first maritime boundary agreement. Although opposition parties in both states have called for further review of the maritime boundary, the two prime ministers expect the agreement to be ratified and indicated that the agreement will facilitate greater cooperation on the exploration and use of off shore resources. A Russian oil exploration company Global Petroleum Group had been pressing the Grenada government to define the boundary so that it could conduct further research in the off shore area without the risk of straying into neighbouring Trinidadian waters.

'Trinidad, Grenada Maritime Border Treaty to Facilitate Energy Resource Exploration' Christian Völkel, IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis, 22 April 2010; 'Trinidad, Grenada sign maritime treaty' BBC Monitoring Americas, 22 April 2010; 'Russian oil company official praises Grenada, Trinidad maritime treaty' BBC Monitoring Americas, 23 April 2010.