Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour’s Continental Shelf: Australia’s Timor Sea Maritime Boundary

29 July 2019

Coveting a neighbour’s continental shelf is a trend that has caused diplomatic rifts and become a contentious issue since the early 1960s. There are some recent cases where coastal and/or island States have experienced the problem in regional seas, for example, in the Arctic Ocean, the East and South China Seas, the Falklands Basin and the Timor Sea.

Perhaps this ruffling of diplomatic feathers relating to the continental shelf may be partially attributed to select provisions contained in the Third United Nations Law of the Sea Convention 1982 (the 1982 Convention), in particular, the delimitation of a maritime boundary for the purpose of allocating jurisdictional limits to access marine resources.

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