By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Federated States of Micronesia has formally submitted to the United Nations its claim on an extended continental shelf over the Area North of Yap that would bring over 188,000 square kilometers of additional seabed under its jurisdiction.
According to a press release from the FSM government, its delegation presented the claim on Feb. 1 to the 21-member Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf at the UN headquarters in New York City.
"The submission is based on the latest map series for the FSM that President Wesley Simina approved last December," the FSM government said.
Continental shelves have gained increasing interest and attention due to their potential sources of oil and gas, and possible deposits of rare Earth metals that are critical components of semiconductors, smartphones, and solar panels.
An extended continental shelf is a seabed area beyond a country’s regular 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.
FSM officials said they pursue the nation's claims based on international law principles and accepted practices under UNCLOS.
"This is the fourth area of interest for the nation that has been considered by the commission," the FSM government said.
Other areas being claimed by the FSM are the Mussau Ridge, the Eauripik Rise and the Ontong Java Plateau, which it jointly submitted along with Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
During the formal presentation, Yamase Lawrence, the FSM's deputy permanent representative to the UN, requested the commission to immediately establish a sub-commission to examine the technical justification for the FSM’s submission.
Upon establishment, the sub-commission and the FSM technical team will begin the ongoing process of the technical review.