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July 26, 2005

Hans Island update


The Flea continues to report as two arctic titans clash once again over the tiny, isolated, desolate and uninhabited disputed territory of Hans Island.

Defence Minister Bill Graham's recent visit to an Arctic island off the northwest coast of Greenland has set off a diplomatic row. Last week, Graham walked about on 1.3-square-kilometre Hans Island, claimed by both Canada and Denmark. Graham said Canada has always considered Hans Island its territory.

Which would all be laughable if Denmark and Canada did not have rather more pressing matters of security and defense demanding their attention. Or for that matter if anybody else on earth recognized either country's sovereignty over these Arctic territories or water-ways let alone any badly defined exclusive economic zone. For the moment I expect Canada to bumble along while the Vikings rove around the place in their rather impressive Thetis-class ice-cutting frigates (supposedly fisheries OPVs).* And in irony related Arctic news, while Canada cannot decide what aircaft might best be used to assert our hypothetical sovereignty in Nunavut the Danes are buying new patrol aircraft from... drumroll please... Canada.

*On a related note: Canada has a warship! (via the Castle)

"Nobody was more stunned than we were," said Kali Omari, first mate of the seized vessel. "We saw this frigate steaming toward us, and we were worried, but then we saw the maple leaf on the flag, and we thought, 'Oh, Canadians. What the hell do they want?'"

Update: July 29, 2005 Anyone wondering just where Hans Island might be when it is at home can check this CTV piece for a map. Wikipedia, ever resourceful, has a better map and the above photo first published in the ship's newsletter of the HDMS Triton, a Danish frigate. The Associated Press reports Danish and Canadian Google ad buys promoting their respective territorial claims (though I have yet to see them appear at the Flea). Canadians feeling patriotic stirrings can visit Rick Broadhead's website... just turn up your speakers.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 26, 2005 01:08 AM

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