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International Seabed Authority UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • Earlier this month, India applied to the International Seabed Authority (ISBA), Jamaica, for rights to explore two vast tracts in the Indian Ocean seabed that aren’t part of its jurisdiction. 

  • The application to explore one of these regions, a cobalt-rich crust long known as the Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount), is a gambit by India.

  • Rights to the region have already been claimed by Sri Lanka under a separate set of laws, The Hindu has learnt, but India’s application is part-motivated by reports of Chinese vessels

undertaking reconnaissance in the same region, a highly placed official, who declined to be identified, confirmed to The Hindu.

International Seabed Authority (ISBA)

  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an intergovernmental organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its 1994 Agreement. 

  • The ISA is headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, and has 169 members, including 168 member states and the European Union. 

  • The Area and its resources are considered the common heritage of humankind. 

  • The Area covers around 54% of the total area of the world's oceans.

The ISA's dual mission is to:

  • Organize and control the development of mineral resources in the international seabed area, ensuring the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects.

  • Safeguard the deep seabed, the waters below 200 meters or 656 feet, where photosynthesis is hampered by inadequate light.

What is Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount)

  • The Afanasy Nikitin Seamount (AN Seamount) is a major underwater mountain (seamount) located in the Eastern Equatorial Indian Ocean, south of the Indian subcontinent. 

  • Discovered in 1959 by the Soviet research vessel "Vityaz", it was named after Afanasy Nikitin, a 15th-century Russian traveler who explored India. 

  • The seamount is a significant feature, measuring roughly 400 kilometers long and 150 kilometers wide.

  • The AN Seamount is geologically part of the 85° East Ridge, a vast underwater mountain range in the Indian Ocean. 

  • It's been noted for its potential reserves of cobalt, rare earth elements, and platinum.

  • These metals are found in cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts that coat parts of the seamount.

  • However, there's currently no commercial exploitation of the Afanasy Nikitin Seamount.

  • The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is responsible for regulating mineral extraction in international waters, and environmental considerations are a major factor.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: International Seabed Authority UPSC NOTE
International Seabed Authority UPSC NOTE
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