Ghana breathed a huge sigh of relief when new geographic coordinates set out by The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in its ruling was plotted to set the single maritime boundary between Ghana and Côte d‘Ivoire and Ghana did not lose any portion of the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) oil fields to Côte d‘Ivoire.
The new geographic coordinates were plotted because the Court discovered that the geographic coordinates used by both Ghana and Côte d‘Ivoire were inaccurate.
The Tribunal decided not to use either of the base points advanced by the two parties as the starting point on land for drawing the line into the sea.
It, therefore, settled on what it called BP (boundary pillar) 55+ as the starting point for doing the delimitation just as Ghana had put forward.
Delivering the judgment, Boualem Bouguetaia President of The Special Chamber stated that the Chamber unanimously found that Ghana did not violate the sovereign rights of Côte d‘Ivoire.
ITLOS Special Chamber ended the four-year-old maritime dispute between the two West African countries.
There were fears that Ghana’s TEN Fields, which hold an estimated two billion barrels of oil, could have been affected by the ruling and Ghana was on tenterhooks when the judgment was being read with most people glued to TV or radio.
Côte d‘Ivoire did not provide resounding argument
But in a unanimous decision, the Special Chamber said Côte d‘Ivoire did not provide a resounding argument to back its claim.
In the end, most of the arguments put forward by Côte d‘Ivoire rejected by the Special Chamber.
Ghana, discovered oil in 2007 prompting Côte d‘Ivoire, which had been pumping oil for decades, to revive a claim to some of its territorial waters.
Several rounds of talks failed to result in a deal on the border which, like many other African sea borders, had until now never officially been set.
Côte d’Ivoire lack of good faith by Ghana
According to the Chamber, Côte d’Ivoire failed to prove lack of good faith on the part of Ghana during negotiations between the two countries.
The Special Chamber also rejected Côte d’Ivoire’s claim that Ghana violated the Special Provisional orders issued by the court on April 25, 2015.
The Special Chamber accepted Ghana’s argument of adoption of equidistance method of delimitation of maritime boundary between it and Cote d’Ivoire.
Bisector line method rejected
It, accordingly, rejected Cote d’Ivoire’s bisector line method of delimitation.
Cote d’Ivoire’s claim that Ghana and its coastal lines are unstable was also been rejected by the Special Chamber.
Ghana’s tacit agreement claim dismissed
Ghana’s argument that both countries had a non-treaty based “tacit agreement” regarding a “customary equidistance” boundary failed.
Ghana’s call for equidistance accepted
The Tribunal agreed that the methodology governing the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire is the equidistance method, thus rejecting Cote d’Ivoire angular bisector theory.
Base points of both countries rejected
Using equidistance methodology, the Tribunal decided that it would not use either of the base points advanced by the two parties as the starting point on land for drawing the line into the sea.
Tribunal sets 55+ as starting point on land
The tribunal settled on what it called BP (boundary pillar) 55+ as the starting point for doing the delimitation just as Ghana put forward.
Tribunal sets new geographical coordinates
The Tribunal then proceeded to set the geographical coordinates along which through line starting on land from BP 55+ into the sea, extending to 200 nautical miles into the sea and beyond.
Tribunal rejects Cote d’Ivoire’s request for adjustment
The tribunal rejected all of Cote d’Ivoire’s arguments that certain geography-related special circumstances warranted an adjustment of the resulting equidistance in their favour.
It also rejected Ghana’s argument that the existing customary equidistant line be considered as a special circumstance to adjust the new line in Ghana’s favour.