The maritime environment has been of immense relevance to human societies. This view stems from the notion that the maritime zone harbours enormous living and non living resources. In addition, the seas and oceans of the world provide a platform for marine navigation, tourism and energy generation among others. These activities generate concerns among the users of the seas intermittently. Generally, the upsurge in reliance on sea resources over time necessitated gradual modernisation and internationalisation of sea governance. This led to the adoption of maritime rules and regulations with the aim of guaranteeing security and order at sea. In the pre-classical period (1400-600 BC) for instance, the European Society developed some maritime rules to guide coastal navigation and fishing[1]. Similarly, the Romans articulated the concept of freedom of the seas in about 470 BC[2] with the aim of providing security and order in the Mediterranean.

Further to the foregoing, unabated agitation for maritime space by the erstwhile big maritime powers led to the concept of freedom of the seas espoused by Hugo Grotius in 1609[3]. Grotius work titled ‘Mare Liberium or Open Sea’ attracted the attention of numerous scholars and stakeholders[4]. Grotius was of the view that the sea was open to all mankind and that no one could appropriate it. The work generated interests and encouraged competing theories from numerous scholars. For instance, in 1635, John Seldon, a British citizen, developed the concept of ‘Mare Clausum or Closed Sea’ at the behest of the British Monarch[5]. Never the less, the concept of freedom of the seas endured for a sustained duration and was essentially relied on by sea users. Further concerns engendered the need to delineate the maritime zones and at a point, the breadth of the territorial sea was measured by the application of the cannon shot rule[6]. Precisely, the exercise of effective control over that zone of the sea was limited by the range of cannons on the coasts, which at the time was recognised to be 3 nautical miles and hence the breadth of the zone that could be claimed by coastal states[7]. Further attempts by nations, especially coastal states, to maximise the use of the sea led to series of conventions in which the concept of delimitation of the maritime zones was extensively debated.

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