Friday, August 10, 2007

Who owns the North Pole , Part 7

Not to be left out for this scramble for control of the Arctic regions , Danish researchers plan to set sail for the North Pole on Sunday to collect geological data, on a mission similar to the recent Russian one .

The month-long Danish expedition will study the Lomonosov Ridge. Russia believes the underwater feature is linked to its territory. Denmark , however , will investigate the ridge to see if it is geologically connected to Greenland which is a Danish territory.
The team plans to collect bathymetric, gravity and seismic data to map the seabed under the ice, according to a Danish science and technology ministry statement on the expedition.

"The preliminary investigations done so far are very promising," Denmark's minister of science, technology and innovation said "There are things suggesting that Denmark could be given the North Pole."

We will be collecting data for a possible (sovereignty) demand," expedition leader Marcussen said.

In Ottawa, the Danish ambassador to Canada, Poul Kristensen stated "it's no secret that Denmark, on behalf of Greenland" has interests in the Arctic and "of course, potentially, we can make claims."

Now the Danes - still at odds with Canada over the ownership of tiny Hans Island in the boundary waters between Ellesmere Island and Danish-controlled Greenland - are again pressing their claims to the potentially lucrative seafloor area around the North Pole.
Kristensen said Friday that "we are speaking of values in the billions" when it comes to potential Arctic oil, "and therefore the area, of course, is of interest to us."

Prime Minister Harper announced Canada will install a new army training center and a deep water port. Canada will build two new military facilities in the Arctic in a move to assert sovereignty over the contested region . Resolute Bay will be home to a new army training center for cold-weather fighting . The new deep sea port will be built for navy and civilian purposes on the north end of Baffin Island, in the abandoned old zinc-mining village of Nanisivik. Harper also announced the 4,100-member Canadian Rangers patrol will be increased by another 900 members. He stood alongside Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor and a group of Rangers — a rifle-toting, Inuit volunteer force.

"Protecting national sovereignty, the integrity of our borders, is the first and foremost responsibility of a national government, a responsibility which has too often been neglected," Harper said,

The North Pole seabed is not currently regarded as part of any single country's territory and is governed instead by complex international agreements. But for how much longer , we wonder . We also note that all this scientific investigation is not to further scienctific knowledge in geography and geology but to further business and commercial interests . Science becomes mercenary . Instead of acting in the interests of humanity , it represents the pecuniary interests of nation states .

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