Preliminary considerations on the potential influence of submarine fans on marine delimitation



Publication Details

W. Qiu, X. L. Jin, C. H. Schofield and M. Li, 'Preliminary considerations on the potential influence of submarine fans on marine delimitation' (2013) 32 (12) Acta Oceanologica Sinica 133-142.


The complex issues associated with marine delineation for the outer limit of continental shelf and the boundary delimitation have provoked considerable attention among researchers in a variety of academic circles, particularly in the juristic filed and the geo-science field. In the present contribution, we start from an overview of submarine fans, as one of common types of sediment-deposit bodies in the ocean, and explore the related geological features which may be of relevance to the marine delimitation in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We carry out a comparative assessment of certain significant geological features of submarine fans, using the Bengal fan as an example, which is the biggest submarine fan in the world and represents an important factor in the maritime boundary dispute between the neighboring states currently. The relationship between the special geological bodies and the international principle in the 1982 United Nations Convention can be established by combining geological and juristic analyses. This preliminary observation on the effect of submarine bodies both on the marine entitlement and boundary delimitation indicates that it is important for the international society to appropriately deal with this problem so that the marine right of any state can be protected.

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