The Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany Saturday ruled in favor of Ghana against Cote d’Ivoire in a maritime boundary dispute.
The Tribunal, in a unanimous decision today, Saturday September 23, 2017, read by President of the Special Chamber Judge Boualem Bouguetaia, accepted Ghana’s arguments in the maritime dispute.
The Chamber rejected Côte d’Ivoire’s argument that Ghana’s coastal lines were unstable.
It also noted that Ghana has not violated Côte d’Ivoire’s sovereign rights with its oil exploration in the disputed basin.
Ghana argued that the equidistance rule be used in delimiting the maritime boundary between the two countries.
Whilst the tribunal rejected Ghana’s claim that Cote d’Ivoire is estopped from making a claim for the disputed territory because of prior conduct, the Chamber equally rejected Ivory Coast’s claim that a meridian measurement be used.
Currently, three oil fields, the Tweneboa, Enyerra and Ntomme (TEN)) oil fields are located in the disputed area and formed the subject matter of the maritime dispute between the two West African neighbors.
Cote d’Ivoire was claiming it had rights to the area where Ghana has been undertaking some hydrocarbon activities.
It demanded compensation from the tribunal, arguing that Ghana violated the orders of the Tribunal in its April 25, 2015 ruling.
But the Tribunal rejected this claim, holding that Ghana did not violate the sovereign right of Cote d’Ivoire.
The Tribunal held Cote d’Ivoire did not substantiate its allegation that Ghana acted in violation of its obligations under international law.
The ITLOS’s judgment means that the three oil fields which hold significant deposits of hydrocarbon material are safe.
The two countries have each laid claim to the disputed boundary in the Atlantic Ocean and both called on the Special Chamber to adjudicate the matter.
Ghana went to the ITLOS in September 2014, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), seeking a declaration that it has not encroached on Cote d’Ivoire’s territorial waters.
Cote d’Ivoire in February 2015 filed for preliminary measures and urged the tribunal to suspend all activities on the disputed area until the definitive determination of the case, dubbed: “Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the Atlantic Ocean.”
But the Special Chamber of the ITLOS on April 25, 2015 declined to suspend production activities in the disputed area.
By: Francis Tandoh/adrdaily.com