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Abstract

The continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles (NM) accounts for a great value for States. The development of technologies and science has allowed the human economic and scientific activities on the deep parts of the ocean floor. The continental shelf is rich with living resources. The living resources of continental shelf are also valuable, since they possess valuable genetic resources for pharmaceuticals and commercial products. Many valuable non-living resources are situated on the continental shelf, including hydrocarbons (oil and gas) and minerals (e.g. manganese, nickel, cobalt, gold, diamonds, copper, tin, titanium, iron, chromium and galena). Therefore, States have spent significant resources on conducting a research and exploring their continental shelf and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has received seventy-seven submissions and issued twenty-nine recommendations pursuant to Article 76 (8) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). With the expected improvement of technological capabilities in decades to come, especially, in deep waters, the continental shelf will be explored more thoroughly and perhaps will meet no technological limits.
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