His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah has issued Executive Order No.99 which delimits Maritime Zones of the Republic of Liberia in keeping with statutes and protocols to which the country is a signatory.
The Executive Order takes into account the baseline, internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf, exercise of sovereign rights, marine scientific research and many provisions.
Executive Order No.99, signed February 6, 2020, declares that the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea adjacent to Liberia is measured shall be the low water line as marked on large-scale charts recognized by the Republic.
The President’s Order asserts further: “The baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured may be established by any of the methods provided for in the Convention to suit different conditions, including by the use of closing lines and straight baselines to deal with specific conditions and local circumstances.”
It is also noted in the Executive Order that internal waters of the Republic shall comprise all waters on the landward side of the baseline of Liberia or any closing lines where those closing lines are outside the baseline of the country.
Executive Order No.99 states that “the territorial sea of the Republic comprises those waters having, as their inner limits, the baseline of the Republic and, as their outer limits, a line measures seaward from that baseline, every point of which is at a distance of twelve (12) nautical miles from the nearest point to the baseline.”
The Order also recognizes Contiguous Zone which is water beyond the territorial sea referred to in Section 3 and within the distance of twenty (24) nautical miles from the baseline of Liberia.
“Within the contiguous zone and the airspace above it, the Republic shall have the rights to exercise all powers which shall be considered necessary to prevent the contradiction of any fiscal law or any customs, sanitary or immigration laws,” states the Executive Order.
The President said the Executive Order is premised on the fact that Liberia, as a coastal state, is entitled to establish and delimit maritime zones and exercise rights and jurisdiction in maritime zones consistent with international law.
It imperative to national interest and to the effective regulation and management of the ocean space and maritime resources of the Republic that maritime zones are established and be delimited, the Order asserts.
The President indicated that the issuance of Executive Order No.99 became an imperative to establish and delimit the maritime zones of the Republic pending the enactment of new national legislation due to the expiry of Executive Order No. 59.
He recalled how his predecessor, in exercise of her executive powers, issued Executive Order No.39 on January 12, 2012, Executive Order No. 48 on January 10, 2013 and Executive Order No.59 on April 28, 2014, establishing the maritime zones of the Republic.