UNCLOS and problem of Arctic

As per the current international law, no country owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it.

  • There are five countries that surround the Arctic viz. Russia, United States (Via Alaska), Canada, Norway & Denmark (Via Green Land).
  • However they are limited to an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which refers to an area of 200 Nautical Miles (370 kilometers) adjacent to their coasts.

The dispute in Arctic Seas is between these 5 countries viz. Russia, United States, Canada, Norway & Denmark. The UNCLOS had given every country a ten year period to make claims to an extended continental shelf which, if approved, gives it exclusive rights to resources on or below the seabed in the vast circumpolar territories. In this context, on October 15, 2010, the Russian scientists have opened a floating polar research station in the Chuckchi Sea at the margin of the Arctic Ocean. The name of the station is Severny Polyus-38 and will be home to 15 researchers for a year. They will conduct polar studies and gather scientific evidence ‘to reinforce Russia’s claims to the Arctic’.