Ulla Svarrer Wang
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Who'll get the Rockall Plateau?
In the North East Allantic the United Kingdom, !re/and, the Faroe IslandsDenmark, and leeland have competing claims to the continental shelf on the Rockall Plateau. In 1974 the UK and /re/and made their jirst continental shelf designations on the Rockall Plateau west of the Scottish and lrish coasts, and have subsequently designated additional continental shelf areas extending to the western edge of the Rockall Plateau. These two States agreed in 1988 on their continental shelf delimitation in this area. FaraeDenmark and leeland designated their continental shelves in 1985, and their claims extend also to the Rockall Plateau and overlap with the UK's and Irish claims. There are now two main areas on the Rockall Plateau where there is a dispule on the rights to the continental shelf between (i) the UK, Faroe-Denmark, and leeland and (ii) !re/and, Faroe-Denmark, and Iceland. The dispule on the Rockall Plateau is a consequence of continental shelf claims extending beyond 200 nautical miles from the basefines of the Jour parties territorial sea. The claims are based on a natura! prolongation of the coastal States land territory to the outer edge of the continental margin, as providedin Article 76 ofthe /982 United Nations Convention on the Law ofthe Sea (UNCLOS). The Jour parties could possib/y agree on the delimitation of the continental she/f However, continental she/fdelimitations have caused much litigation, and probably this dispule would also be submitted to the International Court of Justice or a Tribunal. This would require the parties to present geological evidence for the natura! prolongation of their continental s helves extending beyond 200 nautical miles. The Commission on the Limits ofthe Continental Shelf established by UNCLOS shall also make recommendations to coastal States on continental shelf claims beyond 200 nautical miles. /f none of the parties' claims were accepted, the area on the Rockall Plateau would be beyond the limits of national jurisdietion and declared deep sea-bed. The area and its resources would be the common heritage o f mankind and Jall to
the International Sea-Bed Authority.