Serious potential for disputes

Arctic claims (Univ. of Durham)

Of the 22 worldwide seabed claims submitted to the U.N. commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the most serious potential for disputes is in the Arctic, writes The New York Times. Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia all have competing claims.


The 23rd session of the commission started in New York last Thursday.

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is a United Nation body of specialized undersea geographers and hydrographers established under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.

The New York Times refer to Canadian media reports suggesting there is growing evidence that Denmark could have a stronger claim than Russia to the seabed beneath the North Pole through its administration of Greenland.

Norway’s claims in the Arctic is said to go to some 84 degree north, somewhere half the way between the Svalbard archipelago and the North Pole, while the United States, Canada and Denmark are cooperating in exploring and mapping the subsurface features of the Arctic.

The United States Congress has not yet ratified the Law of the Sea. Like Norway and Russia have unresolved disputed areas in the Barents Sea, Canada and Denmark also have unresolved territorial disputes in the high Arctic northwest of Greenland.