Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount)

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Source-This post on Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount) is based on the article “Sensing China threat, India joins race to mine new sea patch” published in “The Hindu” on 26th March 2024.

Why in the News?

Recently, India applied for rights to explore two vast tracts in the Indian Ocean seabed. The application to explore the Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount) is advantageous for India.

About Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount)

 India joins race to mine new sea patch
Source: The Hindu
Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount)
Source: The Hindu

1. It is a major seamount in the central Indian Ocean Basin. It is located about 3,000 km away from India’s coast.

2. It reaches up to about 1,200 meters, rising from an oceanic depth of around 4,800 meters.

3. It is rich in deposits of cobalt, nickel, manganese and copper.

4. Laws related to extraction: 

a) For doing extraction in this region, countries must apply first for an exploration licence to the ISBA. These rights to extraction are applied to areas that are part of the open ocean.

b) Open ocean means ocean (including air, surface and seabed) where no countries can claim sovereignty.

c) Around 60% of the world’s seas are open ocean and believed to be rich in a variety of mineral. However, the costs and challenges of extraction are prohibitive.

d) Currently, no country has commercially extracted resources from open oceans.

e) Exclusive rights: Countries have exclusive rights up to 200 nautical miles, and its underlying sea-bed from their borders.

Note:  The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is a UNCLOS-linked body. It decides on the limits of a country’s continental shelf.

About ISA

1. About: The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an autonomous international organization. It was established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1994 Agreement relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1994 Agreement).

2. Headquater: ISA headquarters is in Kingston, Jamaica.

3. Members: All States Parties to UNCLOS are members of ISA. As of 18 May 2023, ISA has 169 Members, including 168 Member States and the European Union.

4. Mandate: It has the mandate to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed-related activities.

5. Function: ISA is the organization through which States Parties to UNCLOS organize and control all mineral-resources-related activities in the Area for the benefit of humankind as a whole.

Read more: UNCLOS

UPSC Syllabus: International treaties, Geography

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