Canada launches mission to claim North Pole

Saturday 09 August 2014 21.40
Canada has signaled intentions to claim the North Pole
Canada has signaled intentions to claim the North Pole

Canada has launched a mission to map the Arctic seabed to support its bid to extend its territory up to the North Pole ahead of Russia and others.

Canada filed a UN application in December seeking to expand its Atlantic sea boundary and signaled intentions to claim the North Pole.

Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by ordering his country's military to step up its presence in the Arctic, amid competing claims by countries that also include Norway and Denmark.

Russia and Canada have overlapping claims to both the North Pole as well as large swathes of the Arctic that the US Geological Survey thinks could hold 13% of the world's undiscovered oil and up to 30% of its hidden natural gas reserves.

"Our government is committing the resources necessary to ensure that Canada secures international recognition of the full extent of its continental shelf, including the North Pole," Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement.

A Canadian ice-breaking vessel set sail from St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador yesterday.

It left one day ahead of the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, which will "collect high-quality data about the shape and composition of the seabed," the statement said.

The vessel was "equipped with state-of-the-art multi-beam sonar technology, in the spring of 2014, to ensure that Canada has the latest technological capacity to carry out this important mission" to collect data for Canada's Arctic continental shelf submission, it added.

In December, "Canada filed preliminary information concerning the outer limits of its continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean... indicating it would file a submission for the Arctic at a later date," it said. 

Keywords: canada, north pole