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Bangladesh; Burma: Maritime Dispute Adjudicated

(Apr. 12, 2012) On March 14, 2012, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) issued a ruling in a dispute between Bangladesh and Burma (Myanmar) concerning the two countries' maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. (Case No. 16: Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary Between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh/Myanmar), ITLOS website(last visited Apr. 11, 2012).)

The delimitation case concerning the boundary was filed with the ITLOS in 2010. The dispute originated in November 2008, when the Burmese government sold “blocks” of sea, claimed by Bangladesh for gas exploration, to a South Korean company. In May 2009, Bangladesh's government asked for arbitration in the dispute. It was expected to be resolved in January 2010 through bilateral negotiations, but those negotiations failed. (Shameema Rahman, Bangladesh: Bangladesh-Burma Maritime Dispute, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (June 23, 2010).)

The Tribunal first examined whether it had jurisdiction to decide on the case and then determined the measuring method for marking the continental shelves for each country. The Tribunal used an adjusted equidistant line as the boundary between the two countries to mark the maritime borderline for the two jurisdictions. (Case No. 16: Dispute Concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary Between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh/Myanmar), supra.)