Bermuda: Maritime ‘EEZ’ Creates Opportunities

Last Updated: 28 December 2011
Article by Matthew T. Carr

An impressive 140,000 square miles of Atlantic Ocean and sea-floor was ceded to Bermuda by proclamation of His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda on June 6, 1996. This relatively unknown development makes Bermuda the only British Overseas Territory to have ownership of its surrounding waters, an area called the Economic Empowerment Zone (the "EEZ").

Under international maritime law, coastal states have control over both the surrounding territorial waters, and the state's contiguous zone. Territorial waters stretch 12 miles from the low-water mark of the state's recognised coast. The contiguous zone stretches for an additional 12 nautical miles. Bermuda's EEZ expands this control an additional 176 nautical miles to the 200 nautical mile mark.

With the responsibility of protecting this area (roughly the size of California and larger than Germany), comes tremendous opportunity. The relevant legislation (Article V of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea) provides that Bermuda may exercise sovereign rights for the purposes of exploring and exploiting the natural resources both living and non-living of the EEZ's waters, seabed and its subsoil.

Within the scope of this legislation Bermuda's EEZ can be used in a variety of economically advantageous ways. Possibilities include energy resources such as tidal or wind generated electricity, fresh water extraction, biological resources such as bioprospecting where organic marine organisms are used to develop pharmaceutical drugs (the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences just received $3m to research sea urchins in Bermuda for their cancer fighting abilities), non-extractive resources such as dive tourism, and finally the extraction of minerals.

This article will examine more closely the opportunities that exist in sub-sea mineral deposits in our EEZ and the potential that Bermuda has as a jurisdiction of choice for the emerging sub-sea mining industry.

Ocean Projects Limited, a pioneer in Bermudian sub-sea mineral prospecting, has already begun to study a relatively small portion of the seabed (the size of Staten Island) within Bermuda's EEZ. The preliminary results of this work have been encouraging, and suggest that there exist two main types of mineral deposits within Bermuda's EEZ:

  • Ferromanganese crusts are platinum rich metallic crusts that form on submerged volcanic rock. The crusts are created as metals dissolve in seawater over time and are more prevalent in seawater with low oxygen content, generally between depths of 400 to 4,000 metres. The platinum and other minerals derived from these crusts are used in thousands of applications from wedding bands to computers; and
  • Phosphate deposits that are found in a rare form of lava (carbonatites) are also thought to exist off Bermuda's shores. This important mineral is used internationally as an agricultural fertilizer, in animal feed supplements, food preservatives, anticorrosion agents, cosmetics, fungicides, and water treatment. The price of this mineral per tonne on international markets is now making extraction and shipment a much more attractive prospect.

The area investigated thus far represents less than half of one per cent of Bermuda's EEZ. The possibilities that exist for finding gold, platinum and valuable minerals remain very exciting.

It may be some time before profitability and regulatory approval intersect to make sub-sea mining a reality in Bermuda. Fortunately, the island is perfectly equipped to welcome international sub-sea mining companies to (re)domicile in Bermuda due to its highly skilled professional service providers, the existence of the Bermuda Stock Exchange (and particularly its Mezzanine Market), our globally recognised Shipping Registry – and our status as a low-tax jurisdiction.

While there is no guarantee that Bermuda's sub-sea minerals exist in economically viable proportions, further prospecting within Bermuda's EEZ should be encouraged. Environmental best practices are still developing, and should be monitored closely. As in other areas where sub-sea mining takes place, no extraction should be permitted until full environmental studies have been carried out, and approval granted on a project by project basis.

Aside from the use of its own EEZ, Bermuda has a variety of attractive features to present itself as a domicile of choice for the international sub-sea mining industry. The potential stimulation to local employment and net benefit to the balance of trade may provide a catalyst for growth that Bermuda's economy would welcome.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions