Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


The future of the economy of Trinidad and Tobago is heavily dependent upon the exploitation of the hydrocarbon resources in its continental shelf. Trinidad's geographical proximity to the Venezuelan mainland is relevant because both states share the same continental shelf in areas not delimited by the 1942 gulf of Paria Treaty. The continental shelves of Barbados and Grenada also intersect and these areas have not been delimited and defined by any agreement. The current expansion of the exploration and exploitation of crude oil and natural gas have raised several problems within recent years. This thesis will focus attention to the legal problems, most of which stem from the method used in boundary delimitation. Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago are parties to the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf. Venezuela did so with specif reservations with respect to the articles which provide for delimitation as they relate to the Gulf of Paria and surrounding areas. Venezuela has not signed the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, because of its reservations to the clauses relative to delimitation. Under the 1982 Convention no reservation can be made under any of the articles. Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Grenada all signed the 1982 convention; Trinidad and Tobago has also ratified this convention. This thesis will suggest a delimitation of the maritime boundaries between Trinidad and Venezuela, Barbados and Grenada. The criteria used are special circumstances (i.e. economic dependence) and the precedents set by the International Court of Justice and other International Tribunals.