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.
The aim of the study is to examine the importance of economic argumentation in international maritime disputes. The paper first explains what the international maritime disputes, their sources and types are, what principles they are subjected to. It also established what should be understood by economic arguments, emphasizing their relative nature, as well as showing the potential of the Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 as a basis for formulating economic argumentation. The importance of economic argumentation was considered in relation to international disputes regarding the legal status of maritime territories, delimitation of maritime zones, power over the sea and use of the sea. Research, carried out, leads to the following conclusions: 1) economic arguments are present in the reasoning of the parties as well as dispute settlement bodies. However, their probative value is limited; 2) in disputes related to the status of maritime features economic reasoning appears in the context of necessity to demonstrate that they can be a basis for delimitation; 3) in delimitation disputes, addressing economic arguments is more complex and contradictory. Economic arguments may be useful in the second phase of delimitation when relevant circumstances are considered. However, the existing practice shows that the range of economic arguments is limited (they cannot serve as a reason for correction of natural inequalities). International jurisprudence denies taking into account arguments based on level of economic development or economic or financial difficulties of a state (except for the catastrophic repercussions for the livelihood and economic wellbeing of the population), the needs of economic development or performance of economic activities (mining, fishing, shipping). An argument associated with assurance of deposit unity is of some importance (when resources are known or readily ascertainable); 4) in disputes concerning the power over the sea some weight is held by an argument associated with the establishment of economic authority, in particular, of a regulatory and control nature; 5) in disputes related to the use of the sea, the importance of economic reasoning is varied. In disputes concerning the prompt release, the role of the economic argument is limited. On the contrary, it is relevant in disputes related to the violation of rights and economic interests of States and people, if they are protected by international law.
The study addresses the challenges facing the law of the sea. Although UNCLOS is rightly described as a constitution of the law of the sea, it does not and cannot give answers to all problems and doubts that arise in practice and that are related to global warming, protection of biodiversity, legal status of genetic resources, controversy concerning shipping, delimitation of areas or the protection of underwater cultural heritage. Hence the question arises, what the ways and means of further development of the law of the sea are. Undoubtedly, one of the possibilities is to develop implementation agreements, of which the third devoted to the protection and sustainable use of marine biodiversity outside national jurisdiction is the subject of an international conference convened by the General Assembly, whose resolutions in the area of the law of the sea play an important role. Undoubtedly, also the importance of the organization of the United Nations system, such as the IMO, FAO, UNESCO, UNEP is significant. There is also the possibility of accepting agreements addressing the issues left by UNCLOS without solution or definition. Not without significance is the soft law and the practice of states as well as the position of the organs appointed by UNCLOS.