The International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLO) has ruled on the long awaited maritime dispute between Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, in favour of Ghana.
At a public sitting held today, the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, constituted to deal with the Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean (Ghana/Côte d’Ivoire), delivered its Judgment. The Judgment was read by Judge Boualem Bouguetaia, President of the Special Chamber.
According to the ruling, the Special Chamber unanimously agreed on the following seven findings:
1. That the Chamber has jurisdiction to delimit the maritime boundary between the Parties in the territorial sea, in the exclusive economic zone and on the continental shelf, both within and beyond 200 nm.
2. That there is no tacit agreement between the Parties to delimit their territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf both within and beyond 200 nm, and rejects Ghana’s claim that Côte d’Ivoire is estopped from objecting to the “customary equidistance boundary”.
3. The Special Chamber decides that the single maritime boundary for the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf within and beyond 200 nm starts at BP 55+ with the coordinates 05° 05’ 23.2” N, 03° 06’ 21.2’’ W in WGS 84 as a geodetic datum and is defined by turning points A, B, C, D, E, F with the following coordinates and connected by geodetic lines:
A: 05° 01’ 03.7” N 03° 07’ 18.3” W
B: 04° 57’ 58.9” N 03° 08’ 01.4” W
C: 04° 26’ 41.6” N 03° 14’ 56.9” W
D: 03° 12’ 13.4” N 03° 29’ 54.3” W
E: 02° 59’ 04.8” N 03° 32’ 40.2” W
F: 02° 40’ 36.4” N 03° 36’ 36.4” W
From turning point F, the single maritime boundary continues as a geodetic line starting at an azimuth of 191° 38’ 06.7’’ until it reaches the outer limits of the continental shelf.
4. The Special Chamber found out that it has jurisdiction to decide on the claim of Côte d’Ivoire against Ghana on the alleged international responsibility of Ghana.
5. Finds that Ghana did not violate the sovereign rights of Côte d’Ivoire.
6. Finds that Ghana did not violate article 83, paragraphs 1 and 3, of the Convention.
7. Finds that Ghana did not violate the provisional measures prescribed by the Special Chamber in its Order of 25 April 2015.”
Henceforth, the maritime boundary between the two parties is illustrated in the map below:
The implication of this grants Ghana the permission to continue with its operation in the TEN fields. Secondly, Ghana has no financial obligation towards Cote D’Ivoire.
The dispute has been in existence over three years between two the sovereign states both claiming ownership of that portion of the sea. The two parties over the years have put before the tribunal countless arguments claiming ownership of the said territorial waters. Cote D’Ivoire’s demand for the Chamber to invite both parties to carry out negotiations in order to reach agreement on the terms of reparation due them was rejected by the Special Chamber.