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Russia Files Revised Arctic Shelf Expansion Claim to UN

Sputnik News

07:12 04.08.2015

Russia has submitted a revised application to the United Nations seeking the expansion of its Arctic shelf border.

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – Russia has been seeking the recognition of an expanded resource-rich outer limit of the continental shelf (OLCS) since 2001, but has been turned down, citing lack of evidence.

The partial revised submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), published Monday, argues that "the constituent parts of the Complex of the Central Arctic Submarine Elevations… have the continental origin."

The application cites the Lomonosov Ridge, Mendeleev-Alpha Rise and Chukchi Plateau as belonging to "submarine elevations that are natural components of the continental margin." The Podvodnikov and Chukchi Basins separating the three areas are also listed in the claim.

The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes the right for countries with sovereignty over their territorial sea to set a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

In cases where the continental shelf expands beyond the set limit, the zone is allowed to be expanded up to 350 nautical miles with full control of its natural resources.

Russia's revised application claims the listed areas do not fall under the 350-nautical mile rule due to them being natural components of the continent.

The application lists geodetic coordinates and calculated distances used in the partial revised submission.

The Arctic shelf is believed to hold enormous untapped oil and natural gas resources, estimated by Moscow to contain up to 5 billion tonnes worth nearly $30 trillion.

Four other Arctic nations – the United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark – are liable to contest Russia's claims and present their own.

Denmark and its autonomous territory Greenland submitted their UN application in December 2014, staking claim to nearly 485 nautical miles of the Arctic shelf.

The CLCS is set to consider Russia's submission and make recommendations pursuant to article 76 of the Convention.


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