ITLOS decision goes beyond oil & gas – Tsikata

Former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Tsatsu Tsikata has confirmed that the weekend’s decision by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) gives Ghana more maritime territory.

“Essentially in net terms, Ghana actually gains more maritime territory especially as you go further into the deep waters.”

But he admitted that most of the continental shelf in which the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) Fields were found would have gone to La Cote d’Ivoire if their submission of the angle bisector approach to the maritime boundary had been accepted by the Tribunal.

The renowned lawyer made these known on TV3’s Agenda on Sunday. “I think it is important that this decision delimiting the maritime boundary goes beyond the interest of the oil and gas sector.” ITLOS delivered its judgement virtually giving Ghana and its partners more powers in oil drilling in the maritime area

ITLOS rules in Ghana’s favour but issues operative clauses Ghana’s decision to proceed to the Special Chamber of the Tribunal was contributed to by GNPC then headed by Mr Tsikata.

No wonder, former President John Dramani Mahama, under whose regime Ghana went to the international maritime court, expressed gratitude after the judgement to “Thomas Manu and the team from GNPC”.

Mr Tsikata says an important power that the ruling gives Ghana is in the fisheries sector. “Because really this concerns things like fisheries,” he observed. “And these are all important aspects of the sovereign rights of nations…being able to have access to maritime territories for fisheries. It is very vital and we do have a great tradition of fishing in Ghana.”

Mr Tsikata said the Tribunal’s decision means a lot to Ghana since it is the single most competent legal body for such matters. Mr Tsikata explained that ITLOS is the only body “that is able to use its technical personnel, mapping experts et cetera in order to get exactly the delimitation that they regard as appropriate”.

He, therefore, describes the ruling in Hamburg, Germany as “a decisive victory, I will say, for Ghana in terms of maritime territory”.

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