Bahamas and Cuba: Maritime Border Discussions

Underlining the intensifying search for offshore oil on both sides, the Bahamas and Cuba resumed technical discussions about their maritime border earlier this month. A resolution is becoming more pressing as Norway’s Statoil is already performing exploratory drills adjacent to the Bahamian side of the border and Russia’s Zarubezhneft and Petrovietnam have leased onshore and nearshore blocks in east-central Cuba.

This is the third round of negotiations between the neighbors. The first round of preliminary discussions, which established the framework for future meetings, was held in Nassau in 2005. The official archipelagic baselines of the Bahamas, which are used to determine the country’s maritime zones, including its boundary with Cuba, were submitted to the United Nations by the Government of The Bahamas in 2008. This was followed up by a technical meeting, which took place in Havana, Cuba, on June 12, 2009, when the Bahamian delegation comprised of senior Bahamian officials with technical expertise in the area of law of the sea and maritime affairs, met with Cuban officials.

The Bahamian delegation in this third round included representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of the Environment, the Department of Marine Resources, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and the Bahamas National Geographic Information Systems Centre.

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