DELIMITATION OF THE EXTENDED CONTINENTAL SHELF – THE SEYCHELLOIS EXPERIENCE By Raymond F. ChangTave Technical Adviser Ministry of Land Use and Habitat Mahe, Seychelles 1st APRIL 2003
DELIMITATION OF THE EXTENDED CONTINENTAL SHELF - THE SEYCHELLOIS EXPERIENCE • The Seychelles is a geographically extensive group of 116 islands scattered in the South West Indian Ocean on the east coast of Africa located between the meridians of 46 and 56 degrees east longitude and between the latitudes of 3.5 and 10.5 degrees south to the Equator; • It comprises the main group of 43 granitic islands (located within a radius of 30 nautical miles from the main island) and the remainder which are of coralline formation, spread outside this radius within the above given co ordinates; • Population 81,200; • Per Capita GDP at market prices (million rupees) 41,095 (year 2001).
Background • Seychelles signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on 16th September 1991. The Convention entered into force on 16th November 1994; • The first consultancy report on the subject was called in 1984; • This was to give an overview of the tasks involved, which included delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Continental Shelf (CS) within 200M with neighbouring States; • The initial report was followed by five other consultancy reports; • The last three reports treated the subject of delimiting the Extended Continental Shelf in more details; • Based on the recommendations of these reports the project was started.
Legislations • Maritime Zones Act, 1977; • Exclusive Economic Zones Order, 1978; • Maritime Zones Act, 1999.
Implementation • Our next task was to establish baselines and for this we opted for the archipelagic baseline method. (Remember that one of the constraints in the 4 rules of Article 76 is ‘the line of the outer limits of the continental shelf on the seabed, drawn in accordance with paragraph 4(a) (i) and (ii), either shall not exceed 350M from the baselines from which the territorial sea is measured or…………….’ Article 76(5); • We therefore grouped the islands in compliance with Article 46/47 and 121 of the Convention and obtained all our baselines. The project was being carried out in one Ministry in liaison with other agencies.
Administrative and Technical Framework • When it came to address the delimitation of the extended Continental Shelf after the third consultancy report, when Article 76 and STG were clarified, it became necessary to pool the experts together; • We established an administrative and technical administrative structure within which to operate; • Decision Making; • Project implementation.
Role of the Technical Committee • Committees established in November 2001; • Technical Committee meets once a month. Initiates, plan, organise and monitor the implementation aspects. (Includes part A); • Appraise all matters regarding the project which do not fall within the ambit of the subcommittees; • Reports to the National Steering Committee; • All technical matters regarding negotiations; • Liaise with the consultant and make recommendations to the National Steering Committee; • Consider, evaluate and draw TOR for consultant; • Evaluate tenders for recommendations to the National Steering Committee; • Advisory Body to the National Steering Committee.
The Extended Continental Shelf Subcommittee • Reports to the National Steering Committee through Technical Committee; • Procurement of geophysical data from Data Centre; • Assessment of geophysical data; • Identify areas where additional data are required; • Liaise with the consultant for data acquisition and processing – DTS and claim for ECS; • Subsequent preparation of all geophysical and geological data in accordance with STG (CLCS) in preparation to the case to be submitted to the CLCS; • Evaluation, appraise tenders and submit recommendations through Technical Committee to the National Steering Committee.
The Legal Subcommittee • Reports to the National Steering Committee through the Technical Committee; • Provide legal advice to the subcommittee, Technical Committee and National Steering Committee. Entails interpretation and implementation of international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention as they relate to the delimitation of maritime spaces; • Evaluate tenders and other documents from the legal point of view and advice the Technical Committee and the National Steering Committee; • Draw up tenders, TOR, Contracts Agreements in connection with the project. Entails liasion with Attorney General’s Office. • Other duties.
The Finance Subcommittee • Reports to the National Steering Committee through the Technical Committee; • Budget to the implementation of various aspects/components of the project; • Manage the budget; • Monitor the implementation aspects from the financial point of view and advice the Technical Committee/National Steering Committee; • Disbursement of funds; • Seek funding (locally and overseas) for the project; • Evaluate tenders of other matters having an economic and finance implications; • Recommend financial matters to the National Steering Committee through the Technical Committee.
The database subcommittee • To set up a database to store and retrieve data pertaining to the Maritime Boundary Delimitation Project; • Existing data within Seychelles; • - Government, parastatal organisations, academic institutions, and commercial enterprises; • Existing data outside Seychelles; • -Data Centers and other organisations; • - Government, academic institutions and commercial enterprises; • All members to submit the structure of their datasets; • Discuss the data structures submitted and come up with a data model; • Choose a software to be used as the core database engine.
Implementation – Delimitation of Seychelles Extended Continental Shelf • Executed in five components: • The desktop study; Component 1 • (ii) Tender and commissioning of geophysical, geological and hydrographic survey work; Component 2 • (iii) Data interpretation and analysis; Component 3 • (iv) Determination of the outer limits of the extended continental shelf; Component 4 • (v) Preparation of a submission for the commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS); Component 5
MARITIME BOUNDARY DELIMITATION SEYCHELLES EXTENDED CONTINENTAL SHELF PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE START DATE ACTIVITY COMPONENT PREPARATION OF TECHNICAL REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS TO RESPECTIVE GOVERNMENT CABINET DEC. STABLISHMENT OF BOUNDARY SIGNATURE Jan 2003 Acquisition of data (desktop study) 1 End of 2003 2004 2004/5 Tender and implementation of survey work 2 2006 Interpretation and anlaysis 3 2007 (1) Determination of Seychelles Extended Continental Shelf (2) Submission to the CLCS 4 5
The Desktop Study (Component 1) • Continental Margin – to show that natural prolongation of Seychelles land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin. • The sciences of geology, geophysics and hydrography – our team; • Data is required to prove this; • The issue of ridges has to be addressed at this stage – classification; • Articles 76(3). The continental comprises ………….. It does not include the deep ocean floor with its oceanic ridges or the subsoil thereof; • Interpretation of the data within the framework of Article 76 and the Scientific and Technical Guidelines of the CLCS; • Assessment of shortfall in data; • Provide a cost/benefit analysis of all the options; • Outline to Government an efficient procedure which will eventually lead to the submission to the Commission to the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
What are the constraints? • Technical • Administrative • Technical • Vertical Datum • - Orthophotos although controlled did not take the state of the tide into consideration. • Horizontal Datum • - Transformation of coordinates – local datum, WGS72 or WGS84; • - Requires GPS fix on some islands to geo reference; • - Corrections to be applied to data some of which are dated well before 1972; • - Correction to be consistent with WGS84; • - GPS equipment and operator will be required; • - Interpretation of some of the terms used in Article 76.
B Administrative • Difficulty in locating and accessing the data which are outside Seychelles some of which may require to be purchased; (Consultant assisting) • No one stop shop where one can order the data; • Lack of competent human resources to be devoted full time on the project; • Sourcing Capital.
Information/Education • International Seminars and Workshops; • Consultants; • University; • Brainstorming; • www.
Way Forward • Continue to research and acquire data; • Create the database infrastructure; • Seek funding; • Procure the necessary hardware and software; • Train key members of the team; • Consultancy. • -END-