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The on-going economic feud on the Arctic Seabed

Several countries are supporting their claim on the Arctic Seabed, namely Russia, Denmark, Canada, Norway, even a non-arctic country like China. What’s with these territorial claims?

The ice is close to its melting point which means the Arctic Seabed is currently the center of economic activity and strategic completion between countries. There are no legal arrangements governing the seabed, which means the Arctic Council’s regulatory power is not enough. Countries only utilize the council as a form of communication to other members.

What does it have?

It is believed that the Arctic Seabed captivates more than 15 percent the world’s remaining oil, its natural gas deposits are up to 30% and it consists about 20% of liquefied natural gas. This seabed is equipped with fishery reserves, valuable oil and minerals.

These conflicting claims started when Canada extended its boundary from 60 degrees west to 141 degrees west northward, this took place in 1925. The following year, the Soviet Union claimed an immense area from 32 degrees (Murmansk) east to 168 degrees west (eastern Chukchi Sea).

Norway’s claim had already been approved, Canada being prepared for approval, Denmark is still under review. The U.S. may not be sending any claims yet, but the U.S navy were already geared up for a naval surface warfare.

China on the other hand spent more money than the U.S on creating an arctic research station namely the Arctic Yellow River Station on Svalbard.

Russia’s “Arktika”

Russia disclosed a nuclear powered lead ship on June 16, 2016, suitably named “Arktika”. It measures up to 569 feet long and 112 feet wide and cost’s approximately $1.9 billion. Russian officials describe it as “the largest and most powerful” icebreaker in the world. The ship is expected to launch in 2018.

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