The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the United States of America officially resumed the third round of discussions on the delimitation of the maritime boundary between the two countries on Monday, 11th June 2018. These discussions follow previous rounds of official (face-to-face) discussions, the last of which took place in 2013 when a delegation comprised of senior technical Bahamian officials with expertise in the area of law of the sea and maritime affairs met with U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. The Bahamian delegation participating in the third round of discussions includes representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of the Environment, the Department of Marine Resources, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Bahamas National Geographic Information Systems Centre, as well as other senior government officials with expertise and experience in relevant fields. The official archipelagic baselines of The Bahamas, which are used to determine the country’s maritime zones, were submitted to the United Nations by the Government of The Bahamas on December 11, 2008. However, because maritime entitlements overlap with those of other countries in many cases, international law as reflected in United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), required that countries delimit those boundaries with neighboring countries by agreement. An agreement with the Republic of Cuba was achieved on 3rd October 2011.
Given the strategic importance of the maritime space between The Bahamas and the United States of America, and the historic level of mutually beneficial cooperation that has always existed, the resumption of discussions is a matter of priority for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of The Bahamas. An agreed boundary will promote the effective management of maritime resources and the protection and preservation of the marine environment. It will also play a critical role in assisting both Bahamian and American law enforcement agencies in effectively carrying out their duties.