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Commonwealth supports The Bahamas in applying for seabed rights

2012 - ongoing
The Commonwealth Secretariat has assisted The Bahamas to claim over 200,000 sq km of additional continental shelf (seabed) through a submission to the United Nations in collaboration with officials in The Bahamas.

The continental shelf is the region of seabed in which a coastal State can claim rights over natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals under The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Convention is a multilateral treaty that establishes a framework of rules and principles to govern all ocean space. It has been ratified by more than 157 countries, including 47 Commonwealth member countries.


In the submission lodged on 6 February 2014, The Bahamas asserts its entitlement under the Convention to a significant area of seabed in the Blake Plateau region of the Atlantic Ocean. The area of seabed covered by the submission may one day prove to be an important source of natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals, and contribute to the sustainable economic development of The Bahamas.

The preparation of a submission is a significant undertaking that involves a consideration of complex legal and scientific issues, said the Secretariat’s legal adviser on maritime boundaries, Rosemarie Cadogan.

The Commonwealth is also advising The Bahamas in connection with ongoing maritime boundary negotiations with the United States of America.