The Government of Seychelles Cabinet of Ministers has approved the incorporation of the extended continental shelf of the Northern plateau region (north of the Seychelles Bank) under Seychelles’ jurisdiction. This measure extends territorial waters by around 14,840 square kilometres, or about 32 timesthe size of the entire landmass of Seychelles.
The new area differs from the Exclusive Economic Zone and lays outside of this area. Seychelles does not have the same rights as within the EEZ, but has sovereignty over its resources.
The establishment of three maritime spaces, to which Seychelles is entitled under International Law, were endorsed by the Cabinet: the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, and the revised EEZ
The territorial sea is the coastal waters extending ro 12 nautical miles from low-water under the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). The next 12 nautical miles is known as the contiguous zone and finally, the EEZ extends from low-water to a maximum of 200 nautical miles. A country has different layers of authority depending on the zone.
A U.N. ruling has extended Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone by 14,840 square kilometres, about 30 times the entire landmass of the archipelago. The area is said to consist of seabed and subsoil that is possibly suitable for resource exploration.
The chief executive of PetroSeychelles, Patrick Joseph, described the extension as “an additional area where we can conduct research for resources under the sea, for example, oil exploration. We don’t know if there is but we have the opportunity now to do the research because the area is now ours.”
Vice President Meriton said, “There is now the possibility to work towards getting more data with our international partners and then invite people who are interested to see what can potentially be exploited in the area, of course on a sustainable basis, to ensure that anything we find can be used for the economic and social development of our country,” added Meriton.
Seychelles is also in the process of claiming an area around the remote island of Aldabra and together with Mauritius, jointly manages part of the Mascarene Plateau.
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Seychelles News Agency