Quantitative analysis for maritime delimitation: reassessing the Bay of Bengal delimitation between Bangladesh and Myanmar
This article examines technical aspects of the maritime boundary dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar (the 'Bay of Bengal case'). This dispute was the first maritime delimitation determined by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). The 2012 decision was also the first time that a maritime boundary for the seabed and subsoil of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the extended continental shelf (ECS) was determined by international adjudication. This was also therefore the first time that detailed technical quantification of seabed areas within the EEZ and ECS was needed for achieving an equitable division of these maritime zones in an international forum. Following review of the principles of maritime delimitation on which the ITLOS reached its determination, this article analyzes the legal status and delimitation effect of St. Martin's Island. Concerning the question of whether the legal regimes of the EEZ and continental shelf should be treated differently in a single delimitation line, although the ITLOS determined that the legal regimes should not be distinguished in the present case, a different approach is proposed for future cases. The article identifies how quantitative modelling can be used to achieve an equitable boundary and proposes a model to adjust provisional equidistance lines in accordance with the complex geophysical rules prescribed for the outer limits of the ECS in Article 76 of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC).