Search in this website



The Delimitation of the Spanish Marine Waters in the Strait of Gibraltar (DIEEEO29-2011)

Studying the Strait of Gibraltar from a legal point of view is a difficult endeavour. Its internationality and its concrete geographical characteristics would not pose problems for understanding the nature and legal status of its waters if the interests of both coastal states regarding sovereignty over specific territories were not so difficult to conciliate. That circumstance has made it impossible for years (we could even say that for centuries) to agree a definition of the jurisdictional boundaries of the region. Morocco’s claims for sovereignty over the Spanish territories located on the Maghreb coast along the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the radically different interpretations of article X of the Treaty of Utrecht between Spain and the United Kingdom regarding the British colony of Gibraltar, have had an influence throughout history in these countries’ international relations. Thus, the Strait of Gibraltar is a wonderful example to study international Law and particularly the rules of the Law of the Sea.
The aim of this essay is to clarify the legal status of the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, according to the Law of the Sea, and analyze the type of navigation that takes place in practice. For that purpose, first of all, we will study the current situation of the controversial points in the Gibraltar Strait (Perejil Island, Ceuta and the British colony of Gibraltar). Then, we will analyze the jurisdictional rights that these States exercise over its waters, as well as the international legal regime of navigation.

Author: Víctor Luis Gutiérrez Castillo



© Copyright 2010 Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies