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Argentina Hopes to Expand its Maritime Border

Apparently, Argentina hopes to expand its maritime border to the east to include an area that holds a large amount of natural resources, including petroleum and natural gas. However, the South American country is subject to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which governs the world's oceans and oceanic resources.

According to UNCLOS, each nation has a 12-mile offshore territorial limit and exclusive rights in a 200-mile "economic zone" outside of those 12 miles. UNCLOS allows the economic zone to be extended if a nation can prove that the seabed is part of a country's geological terrain.

In order to meet UNCLOS' requirements, Argentina created the National Commission of the Continental Platform Exterior Limit (COPLA) in 1997. Since then, this committee has reportedly collected 90 percent of the required information to prove that the area to the east of Argentina's current maritime boundary is part of the country's continental shelf. Apparently these findings are to be presented before UNCLOS' Commission on Continental Platform Boundaries prior to May of this year.

Argentina is not the only country attempting to extend its maritime boundaries. A prime example is when Russian scientists planted a titanium Russian flag on the seabed of the Lomonosov Ridge beneath the North Pole last year and incited at least three other nations to begin collecting data to present to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

For more information on UNCLOS, please the see the official Web site:
http://www.un.org/Depts/los/index.htm