France is one of the greatest maritime powers in the world and its position has just been confirmed. The national submarine maritime domain has been officially extended by some 150,000 km2 in the Indian Ocean following the publication of two decrees in the Official Journal, the General Secretariat of the Sea said on Wednesday. The Shelf Limits Commission continental, a specialized body of the United Nations, announced in June 2020 that it was authorizing France to extend its continental shelf.
The publication in the OJ, in January, of two decrees setting the outer limits of the continental shelf “brings into French law the extension of the continental shelf off the islands of Saint-Paul and Amsterdam, and Reunion,” specifies Wednesday the General Secretariat of the Sea.
More than a quarter of the surface of the Hexagon
The French maritime domain will extend off Reunion Island, by 58,121 km2, and off the islands of Saint-Paul and Amsterdam, in the TAAF, by 93,202 km2. In total, the equivalent of more than a quarter of the surface area of France. However, France’s rights over these zones are exercised only on the soil and the seabed and not on the water column, which remains in the international domain.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982), known as Montego Bay, gives the coastal countries in these areas sovereign rights for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources of the soil and subsoil (hydrocarbons, minerals, metals or biological resources).
“The exploitation of these underwater spaces is not on the agenda”, however assured in June the Secretary General of the Sea in a press release. But this allows France “to preserve its rights for the future in vast underwater spaces, which implies the possibility of ensuring their protection if exploitation is not desired”.
More than 10 million km2 of water under sovereignty
The continental shelf of France is thus increased to an area of 730,000 km2, which is added to the 10.2 million km2 of water under sovereignty (internal waters and territorial sea) or under jurisdiction (exclusive economic zone, EEZ). French.
In 2015, four decrees formalized a first extension of 579,000 km2 of the French continental shelf off Martinique, the West Indies, Guyana, New Caledonia and the Kerguelen Islands.
France can still claim about 500,000 km2 of continental shelf, especially around the archipelago of Crozet, Wallis and Futuna, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, south-eastern New Caledonia and Polynesia French.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr