Article excerpt

In September 2004, artist Alex Hartley claimed for himself a newly-found territory that he had discovered off the coast of Norway in the Svalbard archipelago. Previously covered completely by ice, the islet the size of a soccer pitch had been revealed as a result of global warming. Hartley has dubbed the new islet Nymark (Norwegian for new ground or uncharted territory) and he has contacted the Norwegian Polar Institute to have his name for the little island recognised. He has also applied to Per Sefland, the governor of Svalbard, to be recognised as its owner, believing that he has found a loophole in the Treaty of Svalbard. However, Yngve Melvaer, head of maps at the Norwegian Polar Institute, told the Norwegian press that there are perhaps thousands of such small islands that emerge and disappear when the ice retreats or advances: 'Svalbard is Norwegian, also the parts under the ice. Alex Hartley has no obvious case for his claim to ownership.' However, Melvaer admitted that the islet is not on any existing maps even though the islet has been known since a satellite image caught it in 2002; 'Unfortunately we have incomplete maps of Svalbard, but we are working now on new measurements. …


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