Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea1, the coastal state exercises sovereign rights2 over the continental shelf for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources3. Thus, the coastal state does not possess territorial sovereignty over the continental shelf, but only certain sovereign rights for limited purposes4. These rights are exclusive in the sense that if the coastal state does not itself explore the continental shelf and exploit its resources no one may undertake such activities or make a claim to the shelf without the coastal state's express consent
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