Lanka to push for expansion of sea boundary

Sri Lanka is to push for the expansion of its sea boundary, also known as the continental shelf, and will deploy a delegation to the United Nations to discuss the issue, the government information department said on Sunday.

The government said the expansion of the sea boundary will help it secure oil, gas, mineral sands and other resources from the ocean around the island.

“We must make every effort to secure this for our next generation,” Chairman of the National Ocean Affairs Committee Chris Dharmakirti was quoted in the government statement as saying.

Sri Lanka will send a team of legal, scientific and international affairs experts to attend the 22nd Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on the Law of the Sea at the United Nations in New York, to canvass international support to expedite the hearings at the Continental Shelf Margin Claim.

The government said Sri Lanka along with other developing nations have suffered an inequity as a direct result of the slow progress of the workload before the UN Commission that is processing the extended continental shelf claims from different coastal states that are signatories to the Law of the Sea Convention.

“It is extremely unreasonable and totally unacceptable that a coastal nation with substantial entitlement to the valuable ocean bed resources must wait for decades to have their boundaries of their continental shelf demarcated officially by the United Nations,” Dharmakirti said.

Sri Lanka would have to wait until 2028 to have its claim for the extension of the continental shelf heard, but it will push for a hearing by 2018 or 2020, the government said. (Xinhua)