Segments in this Video

Claiming the Oceans (04:40)


A country's borders only extend three nautical miles from the coast. Tom McClean discusses living for 40 days in a wooden box on Rockall to claim ownership of the island on behalf of Great Britain. (Credits)

British Maritime Claims (02:12)

Alan Evans mixes legal and technical aspects of ocean science to develop programs on behalf of Great Britain. McClean explains how Rockall became an island. St. Kilda increases British ocean ownership.

Discovering the Sea Bed (04:25)

Old maps of the oceans highlight what people found important. The oceans reveal the limit of society and the dangers of the sea. Merchant fleets transform the ocean into shipping lanes.

Owning the Ocean (02:46)

President Harry Truman claims that the ocean is an underwater territory that should be annexed for oil drilling. A proclamation declares the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico and its resources belong to the United States.

Continental Drift (03:23)

Europe extends into the North Sea. Alfred Wegener postulates that a supercontinent began to drift apart using geological and biological evidence.

Coastal States Claim Territory (04:58)

Countries decide a legal border is 200 nautical miles from the coastline. Article 76 of the United Nations stipulates that countries can petition for more territory on its geological continental shelf; the borders further.

Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (04:58)

Countries would declare war without the institution. Membership consists of only countries that may petition for additional territory. Walter Roest describes why the commission's activities are confidential.

Arctic Ocean Example (05:18)

Denmark, Canada, United States, Norway, and Russia bid for additional territory. Researchers can submit new reports until their claims are approved. Once the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf approves a country's petition, it is binding and cannot be reversed; recommendations are not contested.

Ocean Floor Committee (03:25)

The International Seabed Authority oversees territory where individual countries cannot claim sovereignty. Forty people govern a third of the earth's surface.

Natural Resources (06:36)

The ocean contains sulfur, diamonds, metals, and oil reserves. France claims maritime territories due to its colonial past; 11 petitions are pending with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Petitions are approved based on scientific concepts.

Expanding Maritime Territory (05:45)

Islands extend a country's sovereign territory exponentially; Fiji pursues an archipelago territory strategy. Corals display characteristics of animals and plants. Hajime Kayanne discusses his method of breeding corals on Okinotorishima to maintain Japan's sovereignty.

International Conflicts (03:46)

China is currently involved in several maritime territorial disputes with its neighbors. Oil reserves in the South China Sea are valued at $1 billion. Oceans have become contested territories.

Credits: Ocean's Monopoly (00:26)

Credits: Ocean's Monopoly

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Ocean's Monopoly: How Nations Use Science to Conquer the Sea

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 governs our understanding of the extent of the territorial sea that is regarded as the sovereign territory of a coastal state. Adjustments of these boundaries are called maritime delimitation in international law. This documentary follows a small group of geologists whose research supports countries’ territorial claims over the world’s oceans. It examines how objective these scientists can be when economic and strategic interests are at stake, highlighted by a geologist who switches sides.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL212805

ISBN: 978-1-64867-997-1

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.