Maritime boundaries are critical elements to the planning of any activity in the ocean realm. From the early 1700’s when the Dutch issued a decree establishing a "territorial sea" which was as wide as "the hypothetical range of an imaginary cannon," nations have sought to control portions of the global ocean which touch their shores. Under evolving criteria being established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), nations continue to re-define their sovereign claims to ocean space.
Many industries and activities recognize the growing importance of maritime claim and boundary delimitation. National claims may overlap, creating areas of disputed ownership and jurisdiction that can lead to confrontation and even open conflict. In the assessment, exploration and recovery of petroleum, mineral, or fishing resources, a distance of a few hundred meters can have significant economic importance. Trespassing a nation's claims could have serious consequences; arrests, fines, ship confiscation, prison, loss of limb or life.
However, the reconstruction of maritime claims and boundaries and their associated jurisdictional aspects is complex, and in many cases, confusing or contradictory. Boundary agreements may take years to develop, often involving third-party mediation. The details and meaning of boundaries may be buried in pages and pages of text.
Until now, graphical portrayal of the claims or agreed boundaries has not been readily available to those involved in marine activities. Third party publishers of claims and boundaries data typically do not include graphics, portray only one boundary per graphic, or limit their graphics to only the agreed boundaries.
More information: http://www.maritimeboundaries.com
The Global Maritime Boundaries Database (GMBD) CD-ROM brings together the claims, limits and boundaries of the world with detailed attribution and documentation so they can be queried and viewed using GIS software. Included in the GMBD are: territorial seas; contiguous, joint development, fishing, and economic zones; potential claim median line solutions, disputed areas, boundary status; and much more.
Aggregated figures exclude territorial seas being disputed by overlapping claims.
The value "-9999" corresponds to "No Data".
The data is only aggregated if at least 75 % of the observations are available (i.e. % of population or % of area or % of countries) on an annual basis.
Calculated pre 1991-1992 relative country share
Former Yugoslavia SFR:
National figures exclude territorial seas being disputed by overlapping claims for the following countries:
Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Sierra Leone, Syrian Arab Rep, Togo and Uruguay.
No claims or areas for the Caspian Sea have been included for the following countries:
Azerbaijan, Iran, Islamic Rep, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation and Turkmenistan.
World total (e.g.: “Reported global totals from original data”) excludes 2,867,050 square kilometers of disputed territorial seas.
Territorial sea is defined under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the 12-nautical mile zone from the baseline or low-water line along the coast. The coastal State's sovereignty extends to the territorial sea, including its sea-bed, subsoil, and air space above it. Foreign vessels are allowed "innocent passage" through those waters. Even though the established limit for a territorial sea is 12 nautical miles, some countries claim larger areas. Territorial seas with overlapping claims from different countries are shown separately as disputed territorial seas.
UNCLOS is an international agreement that sets conditions and limits on the use and exploitation of the oceans. This Convention also sets the rules for the maritime jurisdictional boundaries of the different member states. The UNCLOS was opened for signature on 10 December 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and it entered into force on 16 November 1994. As of January 2000, there are 132 countries that have ratified UNCLOS. Given the uncertainties surrounding much of the delimitation of the territorial seas, these figures . should be used with caution.
Further information on the Web site: http://www.maritimeboundaries.com/
Source: Territorial sea data is from L. Pruett and J. Cimino, unpublished data, Global Maritime Boundaries Database (GMBD), Veridian - MRJ Technology Solutions, (Fairfax, Virginia, January, 2000).
Copyright c 2002 (Aggregations) United Nations Environment Programme/DEWA/GRID-Geneva.
Data aggregation made by Andrea DeBono and Ola Nordbeck (UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Geneva).