David Bollier, author of the recently released Viral Spiral, on yet another aspect of the privateers’ frontiers:
A few years ago, Russia sent a submersible craft 4 kilometers beneath the North Pole to plant a titanium flag on the floor of the ocean. Its purpose: to stake a claim on the continental shelf where there may exist oil, gas and methane hydrates, a mineral deposit that can be a source of energy.
While not all nations imitate the galleons of the 18th Century in planting a flag in the name of a nation, dozens of countries around the world are now staking serious claims for huge swaths of the ocean floor. As The Economist magazine describes it, (thanks for James Quilligan for passing this along!), the latest land grab is inspired by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea adopted in 1982. Under the Convention, nations that ratified the treaty by May 13, 1999, had ten years in which to assert claims over specific tracts of the ocean floor that lay beyond the customary 200 nautical miles from shore.
Read more via onthecommons.org
Please note on the map Australia’s enclosure of East Timor’s oil laden sea bed, sheepishly announced by Alexander Downer during week three of Iraq War 2
H/T to the Economist