The Federated States of Micronesia has laid a claim to an extended continental shelf which already has overlapping claims from Palau and Japan.
Continental shelves have been gaining increased interest in recent years on the premise that the seabed and subsoil in these areas could one day prove to be an important source of natural resources.
Secretary of the Department of Justice of the Federated States of Micronesia, Joses Gallen Sr, filed with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, a claim of an extended continental shelf covering a high-sea area of approximately 188,000 square kilometers (72,500 square miles) located in the North of Yap, pursuant to Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In a statement, the FSM government said its intention is to secure its claims in part so the FSM can ensure the territory is protected from deep-sea mining and other activity that poses the risk of providing economic benefit at the cost of environmental destruction.
“That’s why this claim is so important,” said President David Panuelo.
“Without this claim being made by the FSM, the rare opportunity to increase the FSM’s seabed territory under the UNCLOS might be lost permanently.
“This monumental accomplishment, using international law as a legal basis for extending the sovereign rights of our nation to the high-sea areas, and the rich seabed resources thereof that rightfully belong to the present and future generations of citizens of the FSM.
“This submission is a concrete example of how we take actions today for our nation’s prosperity tomorrow.”
The FSM government was aware that Palau and Japan had lodged overlapping claims over the North of Yap area.
According to the practices by the United Nations Division for Legal Affairs and the Law of the Sea, the FSM’s claim will be posted for a period of 90 days on its website, this being one of the tasks of the Secretary of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
After the posting period, the FSM will be invited to formally present its claim to the Commission.