The Faroe Islands

Since 2003, data have been collected in each of the five areas of interest for Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland as part of the Continental Shelf Project. The data have been acquired in order to document the character of the seabed and to determine the outer limit of the continental shelf according to the rules of Article 76 in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The area north of the Faroe Islands

In the spring of 2008, an ad hoc task force was set up. It was led by the Faroese Geological Survey – Jarðfeingi together with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) preparing the documentation concerning the shelf area beyond the 200 nautical mile limit north of the Faroe Islands. Representatives of governments, authorities and institutions from the Faroe Islands and Denmark participated in the task force.

The submission was sent to the CLCS on 29 April 2009. It concerns an area of c. 88,000 km2. Problems regarding overlapping claims had already been solved through an agreement made with Iceland and Norway in 2006. The agreement sets out a procedure for handling the overlapping claims and determining future delimitation lines in the area, taking into consideration the recommendations by the CLCS for the submissions made by each of the states. The CLCS examined the submission concerning the area north of the Faroe Islands from 2012 to 2013 and returned its recommendation on 11 March 2014 in which the boundaries of the outer limits of the continental shelf were accepted without any adjustments.

When Iceland got its recommendation on 10 March 2016, all three countries (Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands/the Kingdom of Denmark) had a recommendation from the CLCS and so the final delimitation could begin, based on the earlier agreement from 2006. The final agreement was signed on 30 October 2019 extending the continental shelf north of the Faroe Islands with 27,000 kilometres, which is more than half the size of Denmark.

The area south of the Faroe Islands

In 2009, a task force whose purpose was to write a submission concerning the area south of the Faroe Islands was established. The submission was forwarded to the CLCS on 2 December 2010. It concerns an area of c. 608,000 kilometres.

Already in 1985, the Danish government declared by a notice in the official gazette of the Kingdom of Denmark (“Statstidende”) the preliminary extent of the continental shelf area around the Faroe Islands where the exploitation of natural resources would require permission from the relevant authorities in the Kingdom of Denmark. This designated continental shelf area included both an area within 200 nautical miles, approximately corresponding to the shelf and fishing boundaries within 200 nautical miles we have now, and an area south of the Faroe Islands. This step was taken because Great Britain and Ireland made similar designations for the area shortly before. Following that, on 9 May 1985, Iceland announced a shelf claim that overlapped with those of the other three countries.

On 31 March 2009, Ireland and the UK sent in their claim for parts of this area to the CLCS, whereas Iceland has not yet forwarded a submission.