Iceland to Secure Rights on Continental Shelf Skip to content

Iceland to Secure Rights on Continental Shelf

Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir will participate in discussions with the UK, Ireland and Denmark, on behalf of the Faroe Islands, in Reykjavík on Wednesday about how to divide rights to resources on the Hatton Rockall continental shelf.

Natural resources like oil are believed to exist in the underwater zone and the four nations have debated about the rights to harness them for the past six years. Wednesday’s meeting is supposed to end the debate, Fréttabladid reports.

“Great interests are at stake, because if we do not succeed in reaching an agreement, the natural resources will remain unused and an extensive collection of data will be wasted on nothing,” Gísladóttir said.

In less than two years Iceland has to submit a report to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), which will then estimate reports from all nations claiming rights to the continental shelf in question and propose how it should be divided.

Iceland automatically has the rights to an area of the continental shelf limited by 200 nautical miles around the island, but can, under certain natural circumstances, claim rights to other parts of the continental shelf as well.

Iceland is claiming rights to the international territories Hatton Rockall, Síldarsmugan (“Herring Passage”) and an area off the Reykjanes Ridge.

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