عنوان مقاله [English]
Maritime territories and quasi-territories are, in fact, continuation of territories underwater,formedbased on rules and principles governing political systems,international law and international relationsin maritime environment.Place making, territoriality, delimitation and demarcation of territories in the seas are performed based on geographical factors (particularly physical geography). As one of many different physical geographic factors, tideplays a decisive role in maritime delimitation and territoriality. It is considered as the basis upon which boundaries of different maritime territories and quasi-territories in different countriesare demarcated and delimited and formalnautical maps are drawn. Each country of the worldapplies a different basisfor determining low water lineand thisresults in many issues and challenges in maritime territoriality. Meanwhile, sea level has risen due toclimate changesand is expected to increase in the future. Thiswill also affect the above mentioned phenomenon, and may cause serious challenges for demarcation of the existing boundaries. Thus, the present study employs a descriptive-analytical method toinvestigate the role and significance of tides in maritime delimitation andanalyze the impact of sea levelrise on delimitationand maritime territoriality process.
Materials & Methods:
The present study is an applied research following a descriptive-analytical method. Related data was collected through library and internet-based methods and the research follows a qualitative method of analysis. Moreover, GIS and mathematical map calculator known as the “Raster Calculator” were used to draw the maps required for therise of sea levels. Based on the existing scenarios and their average values,the present study considers a two-meter rise for the sea level rise by the end of the 21st century.
Results & Discussion:
Tideis the most significant factor based on which baselines are drawn. Setting low water line as a fixed basisused for delimitation of maritime territories and quasi-territories is only possible ifcoastline is stabilized at one level or in other words at a definite plate during tide. This function is carried out by the tidal datum. Datum is the reference level based on which all depths andcorresponding elevations are plotted. Therefore, tides play a significant role in determining the Law of the Sea. On flat coastlines, baseline is determined based on the low water line. On dented and jagged beaches, the base points are also determined according to the same phenomenon. Moreover, some features such as the low–tide elevations and islands are also identified based on the datum used. Selection of low water line (as opposed to high water line) leads outer limits of the territorial sea and consequently other areas toward the sea. This will expandmaritime area under sovereignty and jurisdiction of different countries. The country which uses a lower datum will expand its marine sovereignty and jurisdiction. In Persian sources, terms such as the lowest tide line have been used mistakenly as a translation for the term “Low Water line” stipulated in Article 5 of the 1982 Convention. This is while lowest tide is only one type of low water lines, and though this concept plays the most important role in maritime territoriality, no clear reference has been mentioned for datum in the 1982 Convention. The convention stipulates thatdatum used in the official nautical charts published by different states is the tidal datum based on which normal baseline must be defined. Although the International Hydrographic Organization has proposed the lowest astronomical tide as the basis for determining the datum, there is a major difference between states in this regard and they use a variety of tidal base lines. However, coastal countries usually prefer to use the lowest datum. It seems that sea level rise, as the most important phenomenon resulting from climate change, has significant impacts on tides and boundaries delimitated based on tides. This is because low water line may retreat due to sea level rise, and as a result base points upon which baselines are drawn, along with marine territories and quasi-territories might also move closer to the land. However, states which have based their datum on higher averages oflow water will encounter fewer challenges caused by the retreating baseline compared to those that have selected the lowest low water line. However, evaluating a two-meter rise in sea level by the end of the 21st century shows that in different coastal regions of the world,the impact of sea level rise on low water line is not balanced and similar. Thus, given the spatial-geographical variations, only flat regions of the world will encounter submersion of coastlines and retreating low-water line.
Results indicate that sea level rise has dramatically changed tides and will challenge Political Geography of the Sea. However, a two-meter sea levelrise will severely affect tides in areas facing coastal retreat, and since normal baselines are drawn based on this geographic factor, a retreat in those baseline should also be expected. In case ofstraight baselines, if base points immerse due to two-meter rise in sea level, these lines will also retreat. Yet, this largely dependson the datum considered for drawing the baselines. On the other hand, the approach used bydifferent states, especially in areas in which maritime boundaries have been delimited, shows that low-water line drawn onformal maps is more referable than the actual low-water line and, therefore, maps can play a stabilizing role as the most important geographic instrumentin the future.