Bangladesh example, a deltaic coast may not have

Bangladesh is geographically a disadvantaged State, having a
convex highly indented unstable coastline and shallow non navigable coastal
sea; while its big adjacent neighbor, India, is in advantageous position with
much longer concave coastline. This geographical reality confers the shape of
baselines a great importance in delimiting maritime zones, which eventually
affects the opening of Bangladesh’s maritime zones to high seas.

It is quite clear that Article 7(2) was adopted to cover the
geomorphologic realities of a deltaic coast with the specific case of the
Ganges-Brahmaputra River delta in mind.1 Bangladesh took the
initiative to include a provision that will protect the interest of coastal
states having deltaic coast. The proposal was to draw baselines following a
certain depth contour to cover all unusual characteristics of the coast. The
main objective of the proposed method was to obtain stable baselines in a
highly unstable coast. Bangladesh based its proposal on the view that the
International Court of Justice opined to give coastal State necessary latitude
while drawing baselines to cover the practical requirements and local needs.

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Though the geo-morphological characteristics of a deltaic coast
is totally different from that of Norwegian coast, the proposal was introduced
in a Article that was originated to cater the needs of a coast that is similar
to the coast of Norway. For example, a deltaic coast may not have low-tide
elevations but will have high submerged elevations of coastal sea bed that can
be hazardous for coastal navigation; moreover no natural formation on coastal
sea bed is stable, which will ultimately worsen the geographical stability of
the coastal area. In hindsight, it could be argued that it would have been
better that this type of situation was covered by a different paragraph in the
convention. In particular, the second paragraph as subordinate to the first
paragraph actually diminishes its clarity as a legal norm.

Though Bangladesh declared its straight baselines much before enactment
of the Law of the Sea Convention 1982, present situation suggests that it is
the only deltaic coastal State that, more or less, tried to follow the spirit
of Article 7(2).2
Though the article precludes something to protect the interest of geographically
disadvantaged retreating delta, it is beyond doubt that Article 7(2) does not
preclude what Bangladesh actually proposed. Bangladesh, in some sense, was
quite unfortunate that it could not muster sufficient support for its proposal
despite the fact that it had considerable merit and had the potential to
receive a considerable amount of consensus from other delegations.3

Bangladesh was unlucky also in the sense that some other States
like Norway, the Bahamas, and Malaysia succeeded to incorporate some provisions
in the Convention for their implicit benefit, but in case of Bangladesh it was
not. In short, the provisions in the Convention failed to deliver Bangladesh
the relief it requested.4 But at the same time it
has pointed that one leading international law authority, Mr. M. Habibur Rahman
, has argued that that the provisions in the Convention do not prohibit
adopting the method of drawing straight baselines on depth criteria;5 rather it can be said that
the conventional rule permits to take base points on the low-water line of the
coast.