Date of Award

1981

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Abstract

This thesis is an examination of the effect which the commercialization of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) will have on the delimitation of maritime boundaries in the Caribbean, and the extent to which boundary disputes will reduce the area available for OTEC facility deployment there. The first chapter is a discussion of OTEC and the prospects for commercialization in the next ten to fifteen years. The second chapter is an analysis of the development of the international law of the sea, and how that evolution has stabilized in recent years establishing a jurisdictional regime in which coastal states control the resources within 200 miles of their shores. The third chapter demonstrates how the international community has been unsuccessful at establishing a systematic body of rules for the delimitation of maritime boundaries. This lack of agreement creates the potential for boundary disputes to persist for many years, especially where the boundary results in the apportionment of valuable resources. The implications of these developments for the commercialization of OTEC in the Caribbean in particular are discussed in the fourth and fifth chapters. In the Caribbean, which is endowed throughout with an OTEC resource, no maritime space exists further than 200 miles from some continental or insular territory. As a result, the entire region will be within zones of national jurisdiction. As many as 60 maritime boundaries will have to be delimited, many of which will require the consideration of a unique or special circumstance such as the presence of a remote island or an unusual curvature of the coastline. The issues are complicated in some cases by disputed titles to sovereignty over small, uninhabited or sparsely populated islands.