Arctic coastal nations agree on seabed mapping

Arctic coastal nations agree on seabed mapping

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Chelsea, Canada (AFP): Arctic coastal states have agreed to work more closely to map the Arctic seabed, regulate polar shipping, respond to accidents and safeguard the region’s fragile environment. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told a press conference that delegates from five nations had agreed on the need for deepening cooperation in the Arctic.

Cannon said, “In the light of the prospect of increased shipping in the region, Canada, the United States, Russia, Denmark and Norway also placed a high priority on the adoption of a mandatory regime for shipping in polar waters. Coastal states reiterated their commitment to ensuring an orderly resolution of any possible overlapping claims.”

At present, Canada and the United States are negotiating territorial disputes in the Beaufort Sea, while Russia and Norway hash out claims in the Barents Sea. Both areas are rich in hydrocarbons.

Cannon hosted his counterparts from the United States, Russia, Denmark and Norway for the half-day summit to address the race to mine the area’s rich resources. As the Arctic sea ice melts away, companies are lining up to drill for oil and gas, and ship builders are readying fleets to navigate a shorter northern route connecting Asia and Europe.

But Cannon said that the five coastal nations were committed to implementing Arctic offshore oil and gas guidelines previously released by the Arctic Council, to protect the Arctic marine environment. Further he added that delegates agreed on the need for search and rescue protocols to be adopted by the 2011 Arctic Council ministerial meeting.

Source: Yahoo News