Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Claim Game: Russia, Canada, US, Norway and Denmark seek Santa's Oil

Yesterday's Globe and Mail (I get it free and wouldn't pay a red copper otherwise) has a supplement in the Report on Business about Northern Countries staking their claims for the treasure of the Arctic. Interesting.

Of course Canada has always made claim to the North Pole, happily assuming the rest of the world was on board with their maps. Only in recent years has our government decided they might send some survey crews up there to at least make a presence.

So who owns The North Pole? Santa of course being the international man of mystery that he is refuses to claim citizenship to any country, so no help there. Russia has ice breakers that could put our Coast Guard breakers in their hold. They have nuclear subs sniffing around up there dropping Soviet flags all over the seabed. They have long made a reasonable claim to The Pole. Our own DFO survey ships are a little underwhelming compared to Russian effort. Canada's survey ships in the arctic would be like sending me to Manhatten island with a Pink White and Green and claiming it for old Newfoundland and Labrador.

It was this little clip from "Canada's National Newspaper" though that really caught my attention. It says "Russia has claimed much of the Arctic because it claims an underwater ridge links Siberia to the seabed that runs underneath the North Pole". So Russia is making claims in the UN to the arctic based on underwater land masses, a "continental shelf" if you will. In other words Russia is claiming "custodial management" to their "continental shelf". I can't help but think I've heard that before?

If I can offer a suggestion to our ships up there surveying the Arctic and drawing our maps: Perhaps when you are drawing your lines along our coast don't be afraid to let the pen stray to encompass the "Nose" and "Tail". As long as we are staking our territory to the UN, lets not forget where Newfoundland and Labrador trully extends.

Greg Byrne of NL Outside the Box and active member of NLFirst has proposed that we include the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks on our own maps as a show of custodial management. Recent discussions with him came to mind when I read the Globe articles. I tend to agree that we should be making the claim to the continential shelf. As a start.

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