INFORMAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN ITALY, MALTA ON MORATORIUM OFFSHORE SICILY A new chapter has opened in the relations between Italy and Malta: Rome and Valletta agreed “informally” to suspend oil drilling in the Southeastern area of Sicily where the respective claims are overlapped.
The political commitment given by the two Countries allows to glimpse prospects for resolving their long standing dispute on the delimitation of the continental shelf (CS) as well as expresses the always excellent level of their bilateral relations. The agreement must be however followed by the formal delimitation of the maritime boundary. Moreover there is a third party concerned to be considered: Libya, whose continental shelf borders the hypothetical limits of both Italy and Malta’s CS.
In May 1999 Denmark and the United Kingdom concluded an agreement (1999 Agreement) concerning their overlapping claims to fisheries zones and continental shelf in North Atlantic waters located between the Faroe Islands and Scotland. The 1999 Agreement designates continental shelf and fisheries zone boundaries in addition to a ‘Special Area’ of water column that remains subject to the overlapping jurisdictional claims both States.
In 1993 Colombia and Jamaica concluded a treaty (1993 Treaty) concerning their overlapping claims to a continental shelf and EEZ in the Caribbean Sea. Article 1 of the 1993 Treaty establishes a maritime boundary between the two States. Immediately to the west of the boundary, the 1993 Treaty also establishes a ‘Joint Regime Area’ in which, ‘pending the determination of the jurisdictional limits of each Party …, the Parties agree to establish … a zone of joint management, control, exploration and exploitation of living and non-living resources’. Article 3(1), sub-paragraphs (b) and (c) of the 1993 Treaty exclude two circular areas of 12 nautical miles radius from the Joint Regime Area. One circular area surrounds the cays of the Seranilla Bank and the other surrounds the cays of Bajo Nuevo. Both of these groups of features are claimed by Colombia – a claim that has been disputed on various occasions by Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua and the United States.
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