Mozambique waits for UN go-ahead to extend its continental shelf

22 August 2012

Mozambique is waiting for the United Nations to give its go-ahead for the country to expand its continental shelf from 540,000 square kilometres at the moment to 676,000 square kilometres, the director of the Sea at the Sea and Borders Institute (Imaf) said in Maputo.

The continental shelf of a coastal state includes the seabed and the substrata of undersea areas up to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the coast, but the UN gives coastal states the option to extend their continental platform beyond 200 miles and up to 350 miles.

Cited by Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias, Eugénio Muianga said that Mozambique was waiting for its request to be analysed, as the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), which analyses the proposal, has lately received many similar requests from other countries.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, outlines so-called territorial waters as being 12 nautical miles from the coast.

After this is the contiguous zone, which extends 24 nautical miles (around 44 kilometres), also from the low water level and after that there is a further 200 miles (around 370 kilometres) also starting at the low water mark that is considered to be the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in which the state has exclusivity on resources found in the area.

Meanwhile, any State can carry out scientific research in its exclusive economic zone, provided it has been given consent by the coastal State in question, which the convention noted should not hinder scientific research without good reason. (macauhub)