Russian Nuclear-powered icebreaker "Yamal" in the Arctic Ocean. 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker "Yamal" photographed in the Arctic Ocean. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Research backs Russia’s Submission to Extend Arctic Continental Shelf

Russia seeks to extend the border of the Arctic continental shelf, and will finalize the claim during next spring. – The new submission is based on more solid scientific research, says expert.

 – Russia’s prospective submission to the United Nations to expand the limits of its continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean is backed by a solid scientific research, Fredrik Paulsen, a member of Arktika 2007 – the Russian expedition to the North Pole – tells RIA Novosti.

Paulsen comments on the prospects of whether the new submission to the United Nations Commission, on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), will be approved or not.

He notes that the United States has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Not binding

The Law of the Sea is a body of international law that concerns the principles and rules by which public entities, especially states, interact in maritime matters, including navigational rights, sea mineral rights, and coastal waters jurisdiction. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was put into force in 1994, and is generally accepted as a codification of customary international law of the sea.

If the submission is approved the decision “will not be binding for Americans”, and the situation will therefore remain uncertain, Paulsen notes.

Vast amount of resources

Russia has been laying its claims on a vast area of resources-rich Arctic shelf, including the Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges since 2001, when it originally made a submission to the CLCS. The submission was returned the next year, due to the lack of information on the Lomonosov ridge.

In order for the Russian territorial claims to be recognized by the United Nations, it must be proven that the respective areas are a continuation of the continental crust. According to the Russian Natural Resources Ministry, such a recognition will bring the country around five billion tons of reference fuel.

Last week Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources, Sergei Donskoy, announced that the claim will be submitted during next spring. 

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