Saturday, November 24, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I’ve never even thought to question it… who does the Arctic belong to? Unlike the Antarctic, it’s not its own continent, it’s not even part of one country. Made up of the Arctic Ocean and northern parts of many countries including Canada, Greenland (a territory of Denmark), Russia, the United States (Alaska), Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, it doesn’t really belong to anyone. In fact how much each country owns of it isn’t even definite.Governed by the Law of the Sea, a 1982 U.N. treaty signed by more than 150 countries, “the agreement gives each nation control of the area up to 200 nautical miles off its coast and whatever natural resources might lie beneath them.” If countries can prove their underwater continental shelf extends beyond the normal 200-mile boundary they are allowed to extend their boundaries upto 350 nautical miles outward. Of course, the layer of ice over these waters makes it very hard to scan the seabed. Spats have erupted as of late, a good old fashioned race for claiming underwater land, between Russian and Canada. The U.S. Coast Guard is planning to establish its first Arctic base in Alaska, joining the race.