Britain set to stake claim for Antarctica sovereignty

Oct 17, 2007 02:00 AM

by Lindsay McIntosh

Britain is researching a claim for sovereignty over a large area of the seabed off Antarctica. The bid for an area around British Antarctica is one of several that are being prepared by the Foreign Office, a spokeswoman said.
Sovereignty over such areas brings with it the rights to tap resources such as oil and gas reserves. The other regions include around South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, around Ascension Island and in the Hatton/Rockall basin, off the west coast of Scotland.

A joint claim with France, Spain and Ireland has already been submitted for part of the Bay of Biscay. In September, negotiations in Reykjavik between the UK, Ireland, Iceland and Denmark (on behalf of the Faroe Islands) took place to forge an agreement to exploit the resources around Rockall.
The nations hope eventually to divide up territorial rights to the vast area, some 422,000 sq km, and exploit its rich reserves. The countries have until May 2009 to reach agreement.

Researchers are currently compiling the geological case for the submissions, which are determined by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
"At the moment we are not in a position to submit these other claims," the spokeswoman said. "But it's something we anticipate doing prior to the 2009 deadline."

Source / The Scotsman
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