Low-Tide Elevation


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Low-Tide Elevation

Offshore land features such as shoals, rocks, or reefs that are exposed at low tide but submerged at high tide are referred to as low-tide elevations.

If a low-tide elevation lies at least partially within the normal breadth of the Territorial Waters of a nation, the low-water line of that elevation may be used as a baseline for measuring the ultimate reach of the territorial sea of that nation. Those low-tide elevations lying totally outside the usual breadth of the territorial sea do not expand the reach of the territorial sea of a nation.

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A low-tide elevation is below water during high tide and therefore in legal sense a low-tide elevation does not generate any maritime entitlement whether in the context of 12 nm territorial sea or 200 nm exclusive economic zone.
If they are neither islands nor rocks, but merely low-tide elevations or submerged banks, they would be incapable of generating any such entitlements.
For instance, the two should jointly send ships in transit within 12 nautical miles of low-tide elevations that have been turned into artificial islands by China, such as Mischief Reef and Subi Reef, and other claimants, such as the Vietnamese-occupied Discovery Great Reef, the report's authors wrote.
On the merit, the Philippines is essentially asking the Tribunal to invalidate China's nine-dash line for being inconsistent with the Unclos, and to determine whether the disputed maritime features in the South China Sea are islands, rocks, low-tide elevations or submerged banks, regardless of who owns or occupies them.
Specifically, the Philippines is asking that Scarborough Shoal, and eight maritime features in the Spratly Island Group be declared mere rocks or low-tide elevations or submerged banks that do not generate any exclusive economic zones (EEZ) or continental shelf (CS).
If they are neither islands or rocks, but merely low-tide elevations or submerged banks, they would be incapable of generating any such entitlements.
2) Mischief Reef, Second Thomas Shoal and Subi Reef are low-tide elevations that do not generate entitlement to a territorial sea, exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, and are not features that are capable of appropriation by occupation or otherwise;
The UP professor, however, said the three specific prayers of the Philippines involved interpretation and application of specific Unclos provisions relating to internal waters, territorial sea, exclusive economic zones, islands and low-tide elevations.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) classifies three different types of maritime features: islands, rocks or reefs, and low-tide elevations.

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