Romania wins the litigation with Ukraine over the Serpent Island

Publish date: 04-02-2009
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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) unanimously decided today that the continental shelf around the Serpent Island also known as Snakes Island and located in the Black Sea will not affect the border between Ukraine and Romania, alloting the latter 80 percent of the surface requested.

The Court's decision, favoring Romania's case, stipulates that the island's territorial waters only spread for 12 maritime miles around it, which gives it the character of a mere cliff, not of an inhabited island.

The Serpent Island cannot be considered a landmark. It is situated at 20 maritime miles North from the Ukrainian shore and consequently any continental shelf and any exclusive area generated by this formation cannot go beyond the effects generated by the Ukrainian shore itself, quoted the ICJ president Rosalyn Higgins from the conclusions preceding the verdict itself.

The Court also decided the nature of the formation was of no interest to the decision.

Romania's objective of receiving about 80 percent of the wanted surface was reached, Romania's representative Bogdan Aurescu said after the verdict, adding this is an important diplomatic success for the country. Romania received a land of 9,700 square kilometers, which stands for 79.34 percent of the 12,000 square meter land it asked for.

Consequently, the Court's decision grants Romania access to an estimated quantity of 70 billion cubic meters of gas and 12 million tons of oil.

The largest oil company in Romania, Petrom is assessing the possibility to take part in the bids organized to lease new perimeters in the area. Earlier today other two gas companies, Romgaz and LukOil announced intention of taking part in the bids to be organized by the National Mineral Resources Agency (ANRM).


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