Spain to claim half a million miles under the sea

The complicated Spanish sovereignty claims with Gibraltar and Morocco in the Strait and elsewhere were given a further twist recently when Madrid launched its further claim to half a million miles of sub-sea continental shelf. This will only serve to add a further dimension to the complexity and tension of the narrow geographical area of the Strait and now also much further beyond.

The United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea (UNCLOS) allows a coastal state to claim an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) which can stretch 200 miles from its shoreline. The EEZ is defined “as an area of the sea in which a sovereign state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.”