Picture of Lucas Lowe-Houghton
  Weblog owner: Lucas Lowe-Houghton
Profile: Coming from Cornwall in the South West of the UK Lucas has obtained his education at the University of Plymouth, UK. He is now a key hydrographic surveyor at Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors.

January 21, 1:22 am

Hydrography: A Political Tool

In today’s economic climate resources are being explored further offshore in our deeper waters. The knock on effect of this; is the disputes emerging in economical exclusion zones (EEZ). This can be seen from the disputes in the South China Sea, where abundant natural resources have been discovered. Such disputes have escalated into confrontations between China and some Southeast Asian countries. Although some joint exploration programmes have been proposed, the disputes are far from being resolved. The 1982 UNCLOS established the EEZ relevant regime extending 200 nautical miles from territorial sea baselines. The ocean itself has become a more dynamic arena and excessive EEZ claims are posing challenges. 

So how does hydrography fit into all this? 

Hydrography is very closely related to UNCLOS 1982 and is especially key in implementing its provisions. For instance, it is very crucial in determining the baselines for measuring territorial sea, contiguous zones, EEZ, and continental shelf. UNCLOS provides the ability of a coastal nation to extend their claims beyond the 200 mile EEZ based on the bathymetry, change in slope of the continental shelf and geology of the seafloor. For example, if two countries have agreed that their maritime boundary will follow the thalweg of a channel, bathymetry is the only method to accurately determine where the thalweg is located. In other cases where maritime boundaries are in dispute the determination by courts will invariably rely substantially on the positions, and delineation of offshore islands, reefs and outcrops determined by detailed hydrographic surveys. 

Therefore, the knowledge that we provide as hydrographic surveyors is influencing key debates and is becoming more of a tool in resource exploration campaigns for many countries. I believe this will continue well into the future and disputes will continue. 

I will leave you with the following quote by Bateman and Bergin

“The economic value of the knowledge that a hydrographic service provides cannot be underestimated in terms of its ability to enable ‘Maritime Power’.

Maritime power is described by Bateman and Bergin as a countries ability to use the sea to promote it national interests – economic, political, strategic and environmental”


From: frqbcl127
Date: January 22, 12:27 pm
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From: Numberman123
Date: January 4, 10:40 pm
I always wondered how countries determined border at sea. I thought it was just based off of a certain distance from the shore, guess not.
good post.

From: HelpwithAssignment
Date: October 9, 9:16 am
Nice post!! Thanks for sharing !!

From: .
Date: September 5, 6:30 pm

From: Click here
Date: July 19, 4:30 pm
Recent article on EEZ mapping

From: Click here
Date: July 16, 12:21 pm
I appreciate the work of all people who share information with others. Great Blog!
<a href="">Click here</a>

From: SwafflingPipje
Date: February 22, 10:29 pm
the knowledge that we provide as hydrographic surveyors ARE influencing key debates...check your grammar....

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