Republic of Cyprus

Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf


The Republic of Cyprus established an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), with the enactment of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Law (Law No. 64(Ι)/2004), which was submitted to the Secretary General of the United Nations, as the depository of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


According to the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Law (which was amended in 2014 (Ν.97(Ι)/2014)), the outer limit of the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus is defined to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. However, in the event that any part of the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus covers part of the EEZ of any other state whose coast lies opposite those of Cyprus (as is the case in the Eastern Mediterranean), the limit of the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and the EEZ of the other state is determined in accordance with an agreement between them. In the absence of such an agreement, the limit of the EEZ is the median line.

The Republic of Cyprus signed EEZ delimitation agreements with Egypt (2003), Lebanon (2007) and Israel (2010). The delimitation effected with these agreements is based on the median line method.

In the EEZ the Republic of Cyprus exercises:

(a) Sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living (eg. fisheries) or non-living (eg. hydrocarbons), of the waters superjacent to the sea-bed and of the sea-bed and its subsoil and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds;

(b) jurisdiction with regard to:

      i. the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and structures;
      ii. marine scientific research; and
      iii. the protection and preservation of the marine environment; and
(c) other rights and duties provided for in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.

The rights and jurisdiction with respect to the seabed and its subsoil are exercised in accordance with Part VI of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the continental shelf regime.

All other states enjoy in the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus the freedoms of navigation and overflight and of the laying of submarine cables and pipelines and other lawful uses of the sea related to these freedoms, such as those associated with the operation of ships, aircrafts and submarine cables and pipelines, and compatible with the other provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In exercising their rights and performing their duties they shall have due regard to the rights and duties of the Republic of Cyprus and shall comply with its laws and regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the rules of international law, including customary international law.


Continental Shelf

The Republic of Cyprus enacted the Continental Shelf Law of 1974 (Law No.8/74), safeguarding the rights and duties of the state over the continental shelf, in accordance with the 1958 Continental Shelf Convention. The 1974 Law was abolished in 2014 with the amendment of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Law, which now incorporates the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to the continental shelf.

According to the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Law, the outer limit of the continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus is defined to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. In relation to any state whose coasts lie opposite to those of Cyprus, the outer limits of the continental shelf shall, unless otherwise agreed between the Republic of Cyprus and the said state, be the same as the limits of the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus.

Over the continental shelf, subject to the provisions of Article 78 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the rights and freedoms of other states therein, the Republic of Cyprus exercises sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting its natural resources, whether living or non-living. All rights and obligations of the Republic of Cyprus in relation to the continental shelf shall be considered to be, and always to have been, vested upon the Republic of Cyprus.

Taking into account that in the Mediterranean Sea the distances between the coastal states are smaller than 400 nautical miles and that it is not practically possible to claim EEZ/continental shelf up to 200 nautical miles, the limit of the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as its continental shelf, is the median line between its coasts and the coasts of the opposite states (unless there is an agreement to the contrary). Pursuant to the legislation, the two zones overlap, as the limits thereof coincide, whilst the relevant sovereign rights and jurisdictions of the Republic of Cyprus as a coastal state, also, coincide according to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; nevertheless they remain two distinctive maritime zones.

Application of domestic legislation in the EEZ and the continental shelf

All laws in force in the Republic of Cyprus are applicable in the EEZ and the continental shelf in the context of the exercise of the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Republic of Cyprus in these zones, by virtue of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf Law and international law, unless their application is excluded in whole or in part by the pertinent law. Furthermore, any installation, structure or artificial island situated in the EEZ/continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus is considered, for the purpose of exercising civil and criminal jurisdiction, as being in Nicosia district. Any installation, structure or artificial island and all the materials used for their construction, which are imported in the EEZ/continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus from the high seas and placed within those zones are deemed to have been imported in the Republic of Cyprus and, likewise, removal of any installation, structure or artificial island from these zones, without being transferred to the Republic of Cyprus means that they were exported from the Republic of Cyprus.

Within the safety zones established in the EEZ/continental shelf solely the laws concerning protection of navigation and safety of installations, structures or artificial islands, permanent or temporary, established within these maritime zones, apply.


Exploration and Exploitation of natural resources
Safety Zones
Submarine Pipelines
Submarine Cables
Marine Scientific Research