– Challenges versus Opportunities1 –
Abstract. The current analysis is discussing the paramount role of the Mediterranean Sea within the contemporary global maritime transport system. Additionally, it provides an evaluation of the geopolitical importance of its South-eastern part in relation to Europe’s energy supply routes. Through the specific region and of course via the Aegean Sea, very large quantities of oil that start their journey in the Black Sea (Russia) and/or the Persian Gulf are delivered to a rather extended number of European countries. In the light of energy rivalries and possible forms of co-operation among the respective regional and international actors, relevant issues of maritime delimitation among the neighbouring countries acquire an extremely important security dimension. The analysis puts forward the argument that resolving these maritime delimitation issues of the area under discussion, by keeping in line with the requirements of international law and especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), will positively impact on the freedom of navigation and associated maritime transport schemes. Overcoming the obstacles and settling these issues will also render Europe capable of utilising the energy reserves available within the specific region for the purpose of diversifying its (energy) supply sources. In this context, Greece, by taking advantage of its geographic location and its shipping capacity, has the potential to transform into an extremely important hub for Europe’s trade and energy supply.
Keywords: Maritime Transport, Energy Supply, Eastern Mediterranean, Maritime Zones Delimitation
1 The views expressed are solely of the authors and do not reflect the official positions or views of the IMO / WMU and/or the Hellenic Navy.
Senior Lecturer Maritime Sciences, Hellenic Naval Academy, Piraeus, Greece
Assistant Professor Maritime Sciences, World Maritime University, Malmö, Sweden