Britain to Claim Antarctic Seabed

Bid follows this summer's Arctic territory scramble
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2007 9:28 AM CDT
Britain to Claim Antarctic Seabed
This photo provided by the journal Science shows iceberg W-86 in December 2005 in the Weddell Sea, off one of the coasts of Antarctica. Britain will claim 368,000 square miles adjacent its existing territory in Antarctica. (AP Photo/Henry A. Ruhl)   (Associated Press)

Britain will submit a claim to the UN for 386,000 square miles of Antarctica, its foreign office said today, joining the international race to grab a piece of the mineral- and oil-rich territory as global warming makes it more accessible. The move violates a 1959 treaty, which Britain signed, that blocks new claims other than for scientific research, but it's based on proximity to the British Antarctic Territory, which was claimed in 1908 and contains two British scientific stations.

Argentina and Chile are among those likely to make competing claims on the territory in question, though it's considered too deep to drill now. The Guardian revealed last month that the UK is pursuing other claims near the Bay of Biscay, Ascension Island, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and Scotland. (Read more United Kingdom stories.)

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