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Complications In Delimiting The Outer Continental Shelf

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the difficulties which affect coastal States that front upon the Arctic Ocean. It begins with an overview of the process that is formulated by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for delimiting the outer continental shelf (OCS), supplemented with a brief description of the activities that have been undertaken by the five Arctic coastal States in developing their outer limits. Finally, the chapter reviews the four categories of complications that affect the development of those limits in the region. The complications are (1) scientific and technical; (2) timing; (3) political; and (4) international. The technical and semantic ambiguities that are inherent to Article 76 of UNCLOS are compounded by numerous anticipated complications that coastal States will need to address not only during the delimitation of the OCS in the Arctic region, but also in the aftermath of that activity.

Keywords: Arctic Ocean; outer continental shelf (OCS); UNCLOS



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