Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Rockall Ownership Dispute Disputed...

I have, off and on, been speaking to Ken Hitchen, formerly of the BGS regarding Rockall, the expedition, and issues of ownership. Ken has carried out quite a bit of research into the resources below the Rockall area, and is possibly the only true expert on the Rockall region (above and below the waterline) around today.

The reason I raise this is that Ken has assured me that there is no dispute at this time as to the ownership of Rockall! Re-reading the relevant reports and research in the light of his comments, I have to say he has point:

All the disputed claims relating to 'Rockall' (UK, Ireland, Iceland and Faroe) are actually relating to the sea bed within the Hatton Basin (or the Hatton-Rockall Basin as it is sometime known, hence the confusion). This lies to the West of the Rockall Bank, of which Rockall itself is the exposed summit. There is no definite boundary defining where the bank ends and the basin begins, just as there are no boundaries defining the glens from the mountains in Scotland. However it is fair to say that being the summit, Rockall is not in the valley/basin and is therefore outside the area of dispute.

Added to this is the map below, from Ireland's submission to the UN regarding the dispute, which shows the Rockall Bank in orange to the right of the Hatton-Rockall area, with the region in which Rockall itself lies, the north-eastern tip of the bank, being to the North of the current Ireland-UK continental shelf boundary (black), and hence in UK territorial waters. It is also East of Iceland's claim; Rockall is therefore outside of Iceland's claim, and also outside the Faroese claim (purple).The link to the document this map comes from is here.

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