Islands or rocks - is that the real question?: the treatment of islands in the delimitation of maritime boundaries
Additional Publication Information
The Law of the Sea Convention: US Accession and Globalization is part of a series of publications on oceans law and policy associated with the Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia School of Law. Part I of this volume is based on presentations made May 20-21, 2010, at the Center's 34th Annual Conference, "United States Interests in Prompt Adherence to the Law of [he Sea Convention" which was held in Washington, DC. Pan II of this volume is based on presentations made at the conference "Globalization and the Law of the Sea" co-sponsored by the Korea Maritime Institute and [he Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea in conjunction with the Center for Oceans Law and Policy which was held December 1-3, 2010, in Washington, DC.
Islands remain a key ingredient in maritime disputes, especially in the context of the delimitation of maritime boundaries between neighbouring States. Such disputes frequently revolve around the question of whether the island in question has the capacity to generate extensive claims to maritime jurisdiction and therefore influence the course of a maritime boundary line, or whether the flature is a mere "rock '; incapable of generating extensive maritime claims. The importance of islands to the maritime claims of coastal States and in maritime delimitation is highlighted The salient elements of the regime of islands are then outlined. The role of islands in the delimitation of maritime boundaries is then reviewed. On the basis of this assessment it is suggested that although a clear means of distinguishing between types of island remains out of reach, this debate is not necessarily the critical issue as a clear trend is emerging in terms of how small islands are dealt with in the delimitation of maritime boundaries.