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The Vagueness Of The International Rules On The Continental Shelf

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Chapter Summary

The basic argument of the coastal States in favour of extending their rights and jurisdiction over the seabed and its subsoil beyond the outer limits of the territorial sea was the claim that these submarine areas were a natural prolongation of their land territory. This geophysical reality was the main argument for introducing the continental shelf regime into the law of the sea at Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS I). The long discussions at UNCLOS III concerning the provisions of the delimitation of the continental shelf were held between the States that favoured a rule based on the "median or equidistance line", and the States that insisted on basing the delimitation rule on "equitable principles". The vagueness of the rules on the continental shelf opens the doors to tensions in the relations of interested States.

Keywords: continental shelf; UNCLOS I



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