Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire and other marine boundary disputes

There's nothing like the discovery of a new marine resource to bring a marine boundary dispute to a head.

The recent discovery of oil off the coast of Ghana has naturally lead to a boundary dispute with their neighbour, Cote d'Ivoire. The confusing thing was that the dispute centred around not the discoveries that were closest to the official border--it seemed that Cote d'Ivoire was claiming jurisdiction over a portion of the seafloor well within Ghanaian maritime space, and clearly directly offshore from Ghana. The details are sketchy, especially here in Ghana where internet connectivity is painfully slow, but supposedly the two governments are to meet early in the New Year.

Maritime border issues tend not to be as clear as land disputes.

Oil has been the cause of disputes in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, so this is by no means an unusual development.

From memory, I can recall a significant dispute between Canada and the United States over Georges Bank, which was a significant scallop resource at the time. The Canadian position was that the border would be equally distant from both countries, which would give Canada the seaward portion of Georges Bank (which had the best scallop fisheries). The American position was that Georges Bank was connected to the US continental shelf, and separated from the Canadian continental shelf by a deep trough, and so should be entirely American.

Now this discussion is entirely from memory, so any inaccuracies are mine. There were precedents for both positions. But when the case came up for arbitration at the International Court of Justice, the US presented a proposal in which the maritime boundary was extended seaward in a straight line from the last segment of the land boundary. The Canadian proposal was as described above. The Americans presented a map showing only the continental US, and the position of their proposed boundary. The Canadians projected the  American's proposed boundary onto a world map, revealing that the proposed boundary cut through Nova Scotia. Since the case was up for arbitration, the court had no choice but to accept the Canadian boundary, which is how we ended up with the good part of Georges Bank. At least this is how the story was related to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment