Given our general level of interests in Maritime boundaries on this blog, We thought we would let our readers know that the UNLOS council has handed down a decision on the Maritime boundary between Guyana and Suriname.
The dispute has been the source of considerable friction between the two countries with a Suriname gunboat chasing off an oil exploration bid authorised by the Guyana Government. It would seem that the tribunal sided with Guyana over Suriname’s claims.
In a unanimous vote, the five-judge panel from the Arbitral Tribunal under the Law of the Sea Convention decided to split thousands of square kilometres of offshore blocs largely on the principle of “equidistance”, but in doing so, it took away a large tract of water that Suriname had claimed as its own for decades from neighbouring Guyana…..
…..In June 2000, Suriname’s Ronald Venetiaan administration sent gunboats to expel a rig that was drilling in the disputed area. The rig was leased by Toronto-based CGX Energy Inc, one of the world’s tiniest oil companies, on a concession award granted by Guyana.
The incident brought the two finance-starved former European colonies very close to war, with both massing troops on their borders and allowing military aircraft to over-fly each other’s airspace in a near farcical show of force by two armies with a combined total of no more than 5,000 troops and with less than a dozen planes and vessels under their command.
We’ve downloaded the judgement (If you are interested its available here)
and we are taking our time going through it. This border dispute has been the focus of bi-lateral and multilateral efforts under Caricom to resolve it. Due to the UN it has now been settled once and for all. This clears the way for Oil exploration on both sides of the line. Hopefully this will lead to significant oil finds as few would disagree with me that both Guyana and Suriname are in desperate need of cash.
The news story did have one rather thought provoking point to close on….
Critics, Caricom experts especially, had noted that the intransigence displayed by Suriname and the failure of the two to reach a bilateral deal have cost them billions in revenues as oil prices continue to soar.
Food for thought there….
Spare a thought tonight for our friends in Jamaica and Cayman who tonight are frantically preparing to take a beating from Hurricane Dean which has grown into a category 4 storm at the time of writing, and is projected to become a catastrophic category 5 storm by tomorrow. A bulletin from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) an excerpt from which appears below shows some of the moves already being made even before the hurricane strikes.
5. Hurricane Dean is predicted to hit the southern coast of Haiti late Saturday (18 August), and is due to hit Jamaica on Sunday (19 August), possibly strengthening to Category 4, with winds between 131 and 155 mph. It could reach Yucatan, Mexico, two days later.
6. UNDP Barbados reported that Barbados and the eastern islands are expected to be clear from the hurricane.
7. In Jamaica, the Director of ODPEM reportedly stated that predictions indicate rough estimates of 32,000- 150,000 displaced persons and up to approximately 10,000 needing temporary shelter.
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency
8. Regional Response: In response to the threat posed by Hurricane Dean, the CDERA Coordinating Unit is in constant contact with the National Disaster Offices. The CDERA Coordinating Unit is urging States to ensure that all national preparedness and readiness actions are rushed to completion.
9. The CDERA Coordinating Unit internal contingency plan was activated.
10. The CDERA Coordinating Unit has contacted the Director General at ODPEM in Jamaica and is working to confirm regional technical support teams to assist as necessary.
11. A second meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Donor Group (ECDG) was convened on 17 August. Given the preliminary reports received from Dominica and Saint Lucia, it anticipates a Level One or Level two response. As a result the Rapid Needs Assessment Teams (RNAT) will not be deployed at this time.
12. The ECDG also considered the emerging threat to Jamaica and looked at options of providing support to the North Western Donor Group (NWCDG).
13. The Regional Response Mechanism remains on STANDBY, meaning that all elements of the RRM should take the necessary preparatory actions in accordance with their respective plans to ensure that a speedy and efficient response may be mounted if a full activation is declared.
14. The United Nations has despatched an UNDAC Team to Jamaica, expected to arrive on Saturday 18 August. UNCT is working with closely with the national authorities.
It looks very grim for both islands at this point all of the models agree on a current path for a direct hit. From what we can see other countries should be readying for a massive relief effort to these islands after the storm. Cayman Islands who have only recently recovered from being devastated by Hurricane Ivan a few years ago, are probably better prepared for this storm that Jamaica, whose last major hurricane was Gilbert in 1988.
We on the margin wish our friends and fellow bloggers in Jamaica and Cayman, the best of luck and we hope to hear from you on Monday.
Our friends over at Barbados Underground posted an interesting graphic showing the bid block that are now being auctioned off by the Government (UPDATE: The Search For Oil Beyond The Shores Of Barbados Has Started~Can Barbados Become The UAE Of The Caribbean?)
Because of Barbados’ position to the east of the rest of the island chain we control a relatively large amount of real estate under the sea. And what’s even more promising is the current discussions underway to extend the 200 mile limit (the green line) even further. While we are talking about oil today, there is no telling what may (or may not) be out there and when the technology will be developed to go after it.
While there are no guarantees of anything other than rock and clay out there, it does open all sorts of possibilities for the future. In the meantime, I hope they will wait for them to actually find some oil before we start spending the money.