A member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) Dr. Steve Manteaw has warned that Ghana will be hard hit should the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) rule against her in the maritime boundary dispute between her and Cote D’Ivoire.
“In terms of implications for Ghana, if the ruling doesn’t go our way I think it will be dire in the sense that huge investments had been made…therefore it can encumber these investments…and it could also mean that the resources that would otherwise accrue to Ghana will now accrue to our neighboring country,” he told Francis Abban on Morning Starr Friday September 22, 2017.
He is, however, hopeful that the ruling will be in favor of Ghana giving the arguments made by the Ghana and the investments that have already been made in the disputed waters.
“The worst case scenario will be maybe a decision for a joint development of the area. I made this point because there has been some precedence,” he indicated citing the dispute between Sudan and South Sudan as a test case.
“That is also a likely outcome of the proceedings and we will keep our fingers crossed and let’s see what happens.”
The ITLOS will deliver its judgment concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 11 am.
Ghana went to the ITLOS in September 2014, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), seeking a declaration that it has not encroached on Cote d’Ivoire’s territorial waters.
It filed its suit based on Article 287 Annex VII of the 1982 UNCLOS.
Cote d’Ivoire in February 2015 filed for preliminary measures and urged the tribunal to suspend all activities on the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case, dubbed: “Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean.”
“Case 23” was filed by Ghana after 10 failed negotiations.
But the Special Chamber of the ITLOS on April 25, 2015 declined to suspend production activities in the disputed area.
The Chamber at the time explained that in its view, “the suspension of ongoing activities conducted by Ghana in respect of which drilling has already taken place would entail the risk of considerable financial loss to Ghana, and its concessionaires and could also pose a serious danger to the marine environment resulting, in particular, from the deterioration of equipment.”
Meanwhile, maritime lawyer and former Shippers Authority boss Dr. Kofi Mbiah says he is positive that Saturday’s maritime boundary dispute ruling by the international maritime court will go in Ghana’s favor.
“I’m very positive on the basis of the law, not only on the basis of nationalism. I have reviewed the very recent decision and I have seen the approach that has been taken by the court in recent times and I’m very convinced that it will go in Ghana’s favour,” he told Francis Abban.