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Durham University

IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Canada submits Arctic Outer Continental Shelf claim

(13 June 2019)

Canada has joined Denmark and Russia by formally submitting its claims to the Arctic seabed to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

Following on the provisions set out in Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Canada has submitted a 2,100-page report detailing the size and shape of the continental shelf that extends from Canada’s Arctic coastline. It hopes to prove by scientific evidence that the continental shelf from the High Arctic islands extends past 200 nautical miles from shore. Canada’s filing includes a section of sea floor surrounding the North Pole that is also claimed by Denmark and Russia as parts of their outer continental shelves.

Once submissions have been evaluated by the CLCS, which may take several years, the three states will negotiate a delimitation agreement.

Russia first made a scientific submission under UNCLOS in 2001, which it subsequently revised in 2015. Denmark completed its submission regarding the continental shelf around Greenland in 2014.