Australia trying to claim Antarctic marine territory

Dec 07, 1999 01:00 AM

Australia is hoping to add an area the size of Queensland to its marine territory in the Antarctic. Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), qualifying nations are entitled to an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending 200 nautical miles from the Antarctic coastline. Nations may also exercise sovereign rights over the physical continental shelf in areas beyond the EEZ.
Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said that the continental shelf off Australia's Antarctic Territory could extend up to a further 150 nautical miles beyond the existing EEZ - an area the size of Queensland. If accepted, Australia would have exclusive rights for the purpose of exploring sea-bed natural resources.
Under the rules of UNCLOS, Australia has until 2004 to lodge data delineating this additional area. The government says it is willing to provide up to A$ 30 mm over five years for the necessary research and survey work in the region. "The lodging of a claim for this area does not, however, indicate a weakening in the government's support for the Madrid protocol which prohibits mining south of 60 degrees south for at least 50 years," Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill said.

Source: IINX via Iinoil
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