Maritime disputes between Mauritius and the Maldives. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea takes no position on the delimitation of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles between the two islands.
On 12 June, on the occasion of the presentation of the annual report of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, its President reported on the unanimous judgment delivered by a Special Chamber of the Tribunal in the maritime delimitation dispute between Mauritius and the Maldives.
He said that the Chamber had examined the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf below 200 Nq using the equidistance/relevant circumstances method. With regard to the location of base points on an uncovered shoal (or set of uncovered shoals), he went on to observe that the selection of base points for delimitation purposes was “dictated by the geographical circumstances of each case” and that international courts and tribunals had rarely placed base points on an uncovered shoal for the construction of the provisional equidistance line.
On the question of the delimitation of the continental shelf beyond 200 Nq, he also noted that the Chamber had concluded that its jurisdiction extended to the delimitation of any portion of the continental shelf beyond 200 Nq.
According to the Chamber, there is substantial uncertainty about the trajectories of the natural prolongation of the submerged land territory of Mauritius presented by that State. It therefore considers that it is not in a position to determine Mauritius’ title to the continental shelf beyond 200 Nq in the northern region of the Chagos Archipelago.
Consequently, the Special Chamber decided, in the circumstances of the case, not to proceed with the delimitation of the continental shelf beyond 200 Nq between Mauritius and the Maldives.