GHANA TRIUMPHS IN MARITIME BOUNDARY DISPUTE WITH COTE D’IVOIRE.
The efforts of the Office Attorney General and Ministry of Justice in the maritime boundary dispute with Cote d’Ivoire saved the country billions of dollars when it ensured Ghana’s victory in the three-year landmark case at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
It’s a ruling that has positive implications for the country’s oil and gas industry. Expert have said the international court would most likely have ordered Ghana to pay 49-billion-dollar reparation to Cote d’Ivoire from the date Ghana commenced drilling of oil in commercial quantities.
The special chamber of the ITLOS, sitting in Hamburg, Germany however declared unanimously that Ghana had not violated Cote d’Ivoire’s sovereign right with Ghana’s oil exploration activities. It also held that Ghana was not financially obligated to Coted’ Ivoire.
It also rejected cote d’Ivoire’s claims that Ghana violated article 83 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and cote d’Ivoire’s sovereign rights. Article 83 of the UNCLOS, 1982, borders on agreement between states with opposite or adjacent coasts on the delimitation of customary boundary lines based on agreement on the basis of international law to achieve an equitable solution.
The Special Chamber ruled that to delimit the new maritime boundary, it would use a new Land Boundary Terminus (LBT) that it had set at BP55plus, thus rejecting the different LBTs (geographical coordinates of BP55 in the case of Ghana and 168 degrees azimuth line put forward by Cote d’Ivoire).
In effect, the court has generated a new base point with which to draw the final boundary, which it said is an Equidistance Line Boundary covering the
Territorial Sea – the Exclusive Economic Zone in the area beyond 200 nautical miles – and experts have said it looks good for Ghana as far as exploration of oil and gas is concerned. Per the judgement, Cote d’Ivoire has lost almost every claim against Ghana.