1st Edition

Maritime Claims and Boundary Delimitation Tensions and Trends in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

By Nicholas A. Ioannides Copyright 2021
    362 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    362 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book delves into the major developments triggered by the hydrocarbon discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean over the last twenty years, focusing on maritime boundary delimitation.

    Examining the impact that the hydrocarbon discoveries have had on the application of the law of the sea rules by the East Med states, the book looks at the new trends concerning the implementation of the law of the sea in the region. The book analyses regional state practice in terms of maritime delimitation, namely the conclusion of bilateral agreements based on the law of the sea rules, both conventional and customary, reflecting the East Med states’ willingness to cooperate in order to reap the benefits of the energy windfall. Alongside this analysis, an outline of the hydrocarbon discoveries and the pertinent maritime activities is given, as well as further coverage of the overlapping maritime claims and disputes between Greece, Cyprus and Turkey on one side, and Lebanon and Israel on the other. Moreover, the book examines the validity of maritime claims made by or through non-state entities in the region, namely the State of Palestine, the UK Sovereign Base Areas and the so-called ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ and their potential impact on the delimitation agreements already in place. The book argues that the East Med paradigm concerning the successful application of the pertinent norms in maritime delimitation proves that international law is resilient and capable of providing solutions in other turbulent regions around the globe.

    This book will be of interest and importance to academics and students of international law, professionals in the oil and shipping industries, legal professionals and government agencies.

    Table of treaties

    Table of cases

    Table of legislation



    Abbreviations and acronyms


    1 The participation of the Eastern Mediterranean states in the law of the sea conferences

    1 Introduction

    2 International conferences on the law of the sea

    2.1 From the 1930 Hague Conference to the UNCLOS III

    2.2 The East Med states’ approach to the LOSC

    2.3 Core law of the sea issues and the East Med states’ positions

    2.3.1 Territorial sea

    2.3.2 Continental shelf

    2.3.3 Exclusive economic zone

    2.3.4 Regime of islands

    2.3.5 Enclosed and semi-enclosed seas

    2.3.6 Maritime boundary delimitation

    3 Conclusion

    2 Contemporary developments with respect to the oil and gas discoveries and maritime delimitation in the Eastern Mediterranean sea

    1 Introduction

    2 The hydrocarbon bonanza and the role of the European Union

    2.1 Overview of the offshore oil and gas activities in the East Med

    2.2 The role of the European Union

    3 Maritime boundary delimitation and other relevant agreements in the East Med

    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Maritime delimitation law

    3.3 The background of the maritime delimitation agreements in the East Med

    3.4 The provisions of the EEZ delimitation agreements

    3.5 Egypt‒Cyprus agreement on the development of cross-median line hydrocarbon resources (2013)

    4 Turkey’s reaction to the maritime delimitations in the East Med

    4.1 Introduction

    4.2 Exchange of letters, the stance of the international community and trilateral meetings

    5 Conclusion

    3 Maritime claims and unilateral activities in undelimited maritime areas

    1 Introduction

    2 The East Med states’ claims and practice under international law

    3 The legal framework governing oil and gas activities in undelimited maritime areas

    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Theoretical background

    3.3 Relevant case law

    4 Hydrocarbon and other activities in undelimited maritime areas in the East Med

    4.1 The maritime area between the Greek islands of the south-eastern Aegean Sea and Cyprus

    4.2 The maritime dispute between Israel and Lebanon

    5 Turkey’s claims through the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’

    5.1 Introduction: The ‘TRNC’ regime under international law

    5.2 The continental shelf delimitation between Turkey and the ‘TRNC’

    5.3 The ‘Barbaros’ expeditions

    5.4 Drilling activities performed by Turkey around Cyprus and the Turkey-Libya MoU

    6 Conclusion

    4 Non-state entities’ maritime claims

    1 Introduction

    2 The State of Palestine

    2.1 Introduction

    2.2 Maritime and energy rights of the Palestinian people

    3 The United Kingdom’s Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus

    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 The legal status of the SBAs under UK, Cyprus, EU and international law

    3.2.1 UK legal order

    3.2.2 Cyprus’s legal order

    3.2.3 EU law

    3.2.4 The international law framework

    3.3 The maritime domain off the SBAs

    3.4 The Annan Plan provisions on the SBAs

    3.5 The Mauritius–UK dispute over the Chagos Archipelago

    3.5.1 Introduction

    3.5.2 The Annex VII LOSC arbitration

    3.5.3 The ICJ Advisory Opinion

    4 Conclusion





    Nicholas A. Ioannides is Adjunct Lecturer of Public International Law at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus.