By Prof. Ksenofon Krisafi
Under article 3 of the Convention “On maritime law”, signed in Montego Bay in December 1982, in which Albania and Greece are signatories, every coastal state is entitled to set the latitude of its territorial waters with up to 12 nautical miles.
Every country signatory to the Convention is entitled to harmonize its legislation with the provisions of the Convention. Through law 230/1936 adopted in 1936, Greece had set the latitude of its territorial waters to 6 nautical miles.
If the circumstances allow it and its interests require it to do so, then there’s nothing that can prevent it from setting it to 12 nautical miles, in line with the Convention.
If, what is attributed to the declaration of minister Kotzias is accepted as true, its meaning should be interpreted logically that this latitude, which is normally a prerogative of the Greek side, will extend up to 12 nautical miles only in those segments of the Greek coastline in front of which there are maritime spaces where latitude between the two coats is at least 24 nautical miles.
If it’s smaller, under article 15 of the Convention of Montego Bay, it shall be determined through an agreement between the sides. Depending on the natural landscape and geographical configuration, the principle of equidistance or/and equity shall apply in relation to neighboring countries located in front of each other or on the side of each other.
The Convention states the same thing about the definition of the Exclusive Economic Zone borders and the continental shelf between countries located in front of each other or on the side of each other.
If we refer to the latitude of Albanian territorial waters set at a distance of 12 nautical miles, under the abovementioned article of the Convention on maritime law, by following the logic of those who make amateur like declarations, the same question is raised:
Why did Albania set its latitude at 12 nautical miles and who did the country ask permission to do this?
Thus, it would be better if everyone would speak within the boundaries of their profession and not make comments based on gossips about issues which are not within their sphere of expertise.