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EEZ is the acronym of Exclusive Economic Zone

EEZ defines the maritime area of 200 nautical miles distance (370 km)  from the coast baseline where each state is entitled to empower its sovereign rights.


The legal definition of the EEZ was given in 1982 by the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Part V Article 55 of the UN Convention defines the EEZ as:

“The exclusive economic zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established in this Part, under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and the rights and freedoms of other States are governed by the relevant provisions of this Convention.”

The needs for a better control of the maritime activities appeared in South America and US at the end of the second world war as at that time the sovereignty of the countries was limited to 12 nautical miles (22 km).

In addition to the EEZ, the States have got rights applicable to the seabed.

This seabed is called Continental shelf and the distance applicable is 350 nautical miles (648km), far different from the 200 nautical miles of the sea water surface.

The legal definition of the continental shelf may be complex to establish as it includes sub-sea continental rises and slopes.

Originated in South America and USA, the EEZ were seen easy to implement since the number of overlapping EEZ was limited in these regions and potentially easy to solve as these countries are bordering wide opened oceans.

But when transposed in some other regions of the world where the maritime space is congested by straits, islands, gulfs bordered by multiple countries the implementation of the new regulation created more questions than answers since the same EEZ turned to be contested by two or more countries.

That is the case in Middle-East within the Mediterranean Sea and in Asia with the South China Sea.

The situation in the South China Sea is really complex because of the number of neighboring countries, Brunei, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam with overlapping EZZ.

But today it turns even more critical since the South China Sea appears to contain oil and gas rich resources.

As a result, for example Philippines renamed the South China Sea as Philippines Western Sea.

Beyond the branding of the seas the tensions increase between all the bordering countries each time one of them award concessions or blocks for exploration and production.

Each sanction is immediately declared illegal by the contesting countries.

Anyway even sometimes the war ships cross each other within these seas, conflicts are unlikely to happen has it would immediately stop exploration and production what they can’t afford.

Thus the business should predominate at the benefit of all the neighboring countries.

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2 Comments to ““EEZ””

  1. Very interesting subject.
    I wish the article had been longer and more detailed.
    But it’s already a good piece of knowledge.
    Thanks for this artcile and all others.

  2. I believe lots of mats will be used in this sort of application.

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