US failure to ratify UNCLOS prevents it from being able to lay claim to 450,000 square kilometers in resource rich Arctic
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In the case of the Arctic Ocean, the five Arctic coastal states are Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States. Russia ratified UNCLOS in 1997. In December 2001, Russian officials submitted a claim that 120 million hectares of underwater terrain between the Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges be confirmed as a continuation of the Siberian shelf. Norway ratified UNCLOS in 1996 and submitted its claim in No- vember 2006. Canada and Norway ratified UNCLOS in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and are in the process of preparing claims for submission.
The United States has not ratified UNCLOS. However, the United States is working closely with Canada to gather and analyze data through the Extended Continental Shelf Project for the submission of Canada’s claim. This effort is led by the U.S. Continental Shelf Task Force, an in- teragency body, chaired by the Department of State with co-vice chairs from NOAA and the Department of the Interior. Both U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard representatives participate on the Task Force. According to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, the United States could lay claim to an area in the Arctic of about 450,000 square kilometers and the seabed resources therein. However, as a non-party to UNCLOS, the United States cannot participate as a member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; neither can the United States submit a claim under Article 76.