Falklands fear Argentina sea ruling

March 29, 2016 11:14 am Published by

Falkland Islands fears new ruling expanding Argentina’s sea control

  • 29 March 2016
  • From the section Business

British cemetery on the Falkland Islands for some those who died in the 1982 conflict

The government of the Falkland Islands says it is unhappy about a decision by an international commission to expand Argentina’s waters to include those around the UK-sovereign lands.

The decision, which is not yet final, follows a move by Argentina in 2009 to expand its maritime territory to include that of the islands, known as the Malvinas in Argentina.

The move will increase its waters in the South Atlantic Ocean by 35%.

The area is potentially rich in oil.

The Falkland Islands’ government is seeking clarification from the UK over the decision.

Mike Summers, chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, which governs the islands’ internal affairs, said: “Our understanding has always been that the UN would not make any determination on applications for continental shelf extension in areas where there are competing claims.”

The decision comes from the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Although not yet binding, the move raises the stakes in the claims by the UK and Argentina to the Falkland Island region, whose waters are being closely explored for oil and gas deposits.

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is a group of experts established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, but it is not a United Nations’ Commission.

Anniversary

The Commission notes that the islands are the subject of a dispute between the UK and Argentina, who went to war over the group in 1982.

Tuesday marks the anniversary of the ordering of the naval task force to the Falkland Islands by the then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

The UK has held the Falklands since 1833, and the vast majority of its 3,000 citizens want the islands to remain a British overseas territory.

Many islanders remain concerned about Argentina’s claim as well as the potential for problems from rapid change brought by the oil exploration industry.

Drilling for oil in the territorial waters around the Falklands began in 2010 despite opposition from Buenos Aires.

Shares in one of the companies drilling in the region, Rockhopper International, were down 9% on Tuesday.

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This post was written by FSB News