Russia to Plant Flag on North Pole Sea Bed

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  08.02.07 | 11:40 AM ET

imagePhoto of the Arctic Sea by wili_hybrid, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

It’s provocative actions like this that we had in mind when we selected the Northwest Passage as one of our Seven Wonders of the Shrinking Planet. According to the AP and other media reports, Russia’s Rossiya icebreaker has reached the North Pole, clearing way for scientists “to dive in two mini-submarines beneath the pole to a depth of more than 13,200 feet, and drop a metal capsule containing the Russian flag on the sea bed.” The goal of the expedition: to solidify a claim to the enormous oil and gas reserves that are believed to be stored beneath the floor of the Arctic Sea. Russia, however, isn’t the only country with interest in controlling the area.

From the Canadian foreign policy newsweekly Embassy:

The Russians say they have proof Russia’s continental shelf is connected to the Lomonosov Ridge and are preparing to file the claim with the United Nations. Canada is conducting its own research with the Danes and must file its own claim by 2013, while the Americans appear set to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea soon, which will also put them in the running for part ownership of the Arctic.

As we noted in our Seven Wonders selection, the maneuvering could have a long-lasting, world-wide impact and help determine who eventually might control a viable Northwest Passage.


1 Comment for Russia to Plant Flag on North Pole Sea Bed

Eva 08.02.07 | 2:15 PM ET

From Reuters - “This isn’t the 15th century. You can’t go around the world and just plant flags and say ‘We’re claiming this territory’,” said Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay.

“There is no threat to Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic ... we’re not at all concerned about this mission—basically it’s just a show by Russia,” he told CTV television.

This issue isn’t going away anytime soon. Meanwhile, sit back and enjoy the fun of watching the Canadian government try to play hardball… It’s just unnatural.

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