Last January, I warned about China's interest in Benham Rise:
Golez: BEWARE PHILIPPINES!!! PROTECT BENHAM RISE! BENHAM RISE, OURS
Now I fear China has its lustful eyes on our East Sea.
BENHAM RISE IN PERIL? If we allow ourselves to be lulled by China's charm offensive, am afraid their next creeping move is towards our East Sea, it's lustful eyes on our 13 million hectare Benham Rise off Aurora province, awarded to us by the UN on April 12, 2012 as part of the Philippine continental shelf and territory. Before this award, our territory was only around 30 million hectares. Now, it is 43 million hectares with Benham Rise.
Golez: Now Defense Sec. Lorenzana announced that a Chinese survey ship has been spotted in Benham Rise.
The Philippines should immediately issue a strong protest considering China's history of seizing our seas and features.
Note: Benham Rise: Philippines's ‘new territory’
By Rudy Fernandez (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 18, 2016 http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/05/18/1584439/benham-rise-philippiness-new-territory )
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Benham Rise, ours to protect! 10 Things to know about Benham Rise February 23, 2016 PNA Nation
10 Things to know about Benham Rise
February 23, 2016 PNA Nation 0
What is Benham Rise? Where is its exact location? How can the Filipinos benefit from it? Here are 10 things people need to know about this undersea region called Benham Rise.
1. It is also known as Benham Plateau. This 13-million- hectare, seismically active undersea region is said to be located east of Luzon, and is 35 meters underwater at its shallowest point off the provinces of Aurora and Isabela. It is said to be wider than Luzon, Samar and Leyte combined.
2. Benham Rise was named after Andrew Benham, an American geologist who discovered it.
3. Despite Benham Rise’s proximity to the Philippine archipelago and despite the Philippines being the only country within 200 nautical miles of the plateau, it was not included in the Philippine islands territory before.
As such, in April 2009, the Philippines lodged a full territorial waters claim with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
The Philippine government’s claim was based on the guidelines set by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the area satisfies the 350-mile constraint line. Moreover, the basis of the claim was also according to Republic Act No. 9522 (Archipelagic Baselines Law), which says that the region is bounded by the Philippine Basis on the north and east, and by Luzon on the west and south. Also, based on scientific data on seismic, magnetic and other geological features of Benham Rise, it indicates that the region is an extension of the country’s continental shelf.
4. In April 2012, the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) recognized and officially approved the Philippines’ claim that Benham Rise is part of its continental shelf and territory. With that, the Philippines’ territory has also increased to 43 million hectares from 30 million hectares.
5. Aside from expansion of territory, the Philippines will benefit from mineral and gas deposits in Benham Rise.
According to research, there is a massive mineral and gas deposits in the plateau, and this could help the country to achieve energy sufficiency.
Furthermore, solidified methane was found during mapping activities. That is why Benham Rise is believed to have massive oil deposits.
6. The government is exploring the possibility of tapping new gas fields like the Benham Rise. Senator Juan Edgardo Angara believes that the plateau is a good alternative for the Malampaya gas field.
7. A team of Filipino experts conducted an exploration from May 3 to 18 and examined the marine life in the plateau. Fishing activities have occurred in Benham Rise even before the Philippines was officially awarded its territorial claim.
The exploration was a collaboration among University of the Philippines Diliman, UP Los Banos and Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR).
Researchers, scientists, seasoned dive specialists from UP Mindanao, UP Baguio, Xavier University, Ateneo de Manila University as well as from the local diving industry have joined forces for this expedition.
The team discovered 120 percent coral cover. The National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) said the plateau is a shallow bathymetric feature that towers above the adjacent deep ocean floor with Benham Bank, the shallowest part that measures 50 meters deep.
8. The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources and Development (PCAARRD), an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has funded a program called “Exploration, Mapping and Assessment of Deep Water Areas.”
This aims to learn the dynamics of Benham Rise, and also to generate benchmark data as basis for the government to proactively manage its territory.
The program was implemented by the UP Marine Science Institute, UP National Institute of Geological Sciences and UPLB–School of Environmental Science and Management.
9. Experts from Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) have expressed interest in conducting research surveys on Benham Rise.
As of Feb. 22, the DOST said there is no “offer” to collaborate with the agency, but an opportunity to partner with the two countries for research and development purposes which may include resource assessment.
10. By using their scientific expertise and exploring the Benham Rise, both Korea and Japan would understand better their areas that are prone to earthquake. Both countries would like to gain valuable information on earthquakes and the earth’s tectonic plates.
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Benham Plateau also known as the Benham Rise (with coordinates 119°3O’E to 132°OO’E and 12°1O’N to 2O°3O’N latitude),is a 13 million hectare under sea region east of Luzon and is 35 meters underwater at its shallowest point off the provinces of Aurora and Isabela. It is delimited by the West Philippine Basin to the north and east. It is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge east of the Philippines, in the Philippine Sea which lies a number of Basins including the West Philippine Basin (WPB) of which inside the Basin is located the Central Basin Fault (CBF). The Benham Plateau region is located in the CBF and its basement represents a micro-continent. Several scientific survey analysis have been made to study its nature and its impact on tectonic subduction, including one about its effects on the 1990 Luzon earthquake, which devastated the northern city of Baguio. The area is solely claimed, as part of its continental shelf, by the Republic of the Philippines, which was confirmed by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on April 12, 2012. Under the UNCLOS, a coastal state’s exclusive economic zone extends 370 kilometers (200 nautical miles) from its continental shelf, while its extended continental shelf extends for another 278 km (150 nautical miles). The UN now recognizes the Philippines’ claim and the country’s territory has increase to 43 million hectares from 30 million hectares.
Named after the American geologist Andrew Benham who discovered the continental shelf, the area was mapped in 1933 but its connection to the Philippine shelf was validated only recently to justify the county’s economic claim. Despite its proximity to the archipelago, the plateau was previously not included in the territory of the Philippine Islands. On 8 April 2009, the Republic of the Philippines lodged a full territorial waters claim with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in relation to the continental shelf in the region of Benham Rise. It was submitted as part of petition expanding the archipelago's baselines and exclusive economic zone through a law that also included other claims involving disputed territories of the Kalayaan Islands (Spratly Islands) and Scarborough Shoal. Although the off shore landform, in itself, is not disputed, the petition still received some criticism inside and outside the country because of its controversial nature. According to the government's claim, based on a set of guidelines by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the area satisfies the 350-mile constraint line since the outer limits of the continental shelf are located landward of the constraint line, which is located 350 miles from the baselines where the measurement of the breadth of the territorial sea begins. Benham Rise was never a subject to any maritime boundary disputes and claims. The Congress of the Philippines enacted Republic Act No. 9522, also known as the Archipelagic Baselines Law, which is the basis of the claim. According to the document, the region is bounded by the Philippine Basin on the north and east, and by Luzon on the west and south. It asserted that, according to scientific data based on seismic, magnetic, other geological features, the Benham Rise region is an extension of the Philippines’ continental shelf.
In summary, the baselines, the basis used for delineating the maritime territorial and jurisdictional zones, conform with the requirements of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Indirectly, the claim is only a partial claim since the law that allows the Philippines to expand its territorial boundaries also includes other disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines may soon be able to provide its own energy needs if it can extract abundant mineral, oil and natural gas of Benham Rise, which is believed to have mineral and gas deposits. The Philippines claim over Benham Rise is "very relevant" because scientific surveys indicate minerals and natural gas in the area. Solidified methane was found during mapping activities and the "probability is extremely very high" there are massive oil deposits. Benham Rise, which is wider than the entire Luzon, Samar, and Leyte combined, is now officially part of the Philippines because it is the only country within 200 nautical miles of the plateau.
The United Nation has officially approved and recognized the claim of the Philippines in April of 2012, in strict compliance with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has officially received a letter from UNCLOS informing the Philippines that Benham Rise is now part of the Philippine continental shelf and territory. The Philippines would soon benefit from the massive mineral and gas deposits in the region which would enable the country to achieve complete energy sufficiency.
The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) of the United Nations adopted in full the Republic of the Philippines’ Submission for an extended continental shelf on April 12, 2012 which includes part of the seabed that extends beyond 200 nautical miles from the country’s baselines covering a seabed area of 52,340 square miles.
The geological and morphological analyses establish that Benham Rise is a natural prolongation of the landmass of Luzon that is distinct from the adjacent ocean floor. The connection between Benham Rise and Luzon is evident from its morphology particularly through the Palanan Saddles and Bicol which shows that Benham Rise is accreted to Luzon. The extent of this large igneous province reaches well beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. With the geological and morphological evidence, the Test of Appurtenance is proven and the Philippines is therefore entitled to delineate the outer limit of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.
The map shows the features of the Philippine Sea Plate.
Benham Rise is a submerged extinct volcanic ridge located at 16 degrees 30 minutes N, 124 degrees 45 minutes E off the coast of Luzon, with the size of about 250 km in diameter and rises over 2,000 meters (2 km.) above the sea floor, from below 5,000 meters (5 km.) below sea level to above 3,000 meters (3 km.) below sea level. Its area is close to the Benham Seamount, located at 15 degrees 48 minutes N, 124 degrees 15 minutes E. The precise location is somewhere near the east of the Philippine Trench and near the south of the East Luzon Trench, both of which absorb the subducting force of the Philippine Sea Plate under the Philippine Mobile Belt, a collage of large blocks of that crust that amalgamated prior to the collision of the Philippine Sea Plate with the Eurasian Plate.
The origin of the landform, along with a fellow landform, the Urdaneta Plateau (a remnant of mantle plume), is identified in one study as at least five sequences of propagating rifts, probably triggered by mantle flowing away from the mantle thermal anomaly. Its presence of the landform disrupts the continuity of this region (known as the Philippine-East Luzon Trench) by continuously colliding with the Sierra Madre mountain range of eastern portion of the island of Luzon. Though it is generally thought that the Philippine Sea Plate is being subducted under the Philippine Mobile Belt, under the rules of tectonic subduction, there appears to be a resistance to this because of the presence of the landform, and instead, the plate is being displaced into the northern portion of Luzon to the west.
The geophysical features of the plateau may have been the result of an early Miocene collision event between the Benham Rise and the eastern margin of Luzon, which may have also allowed the inception of the NW striking strand of the Philippine fault. These forces may have impacted the shape of the island of Luzon because of the basaltic sea floor resisting the subduction that may have also cause the bending of the Philippine Fault. The active basins in Central Luzon, which trace an asymmetrical V shape, is the best place to observe recent tectonic evolution of the fault system.
The landform is presumably named after Admiral Andrew Ellicot Kennedy Benham (1832–1905) by Americansurveyors who were the probable discoverers of the geological feature. He was a United States Navy officer, who served with both the South Atlantic and West Gulf Blockading Squadrons during the American Civil War.There has been speculation in the scientific community about the nature of the landform. Following the major 16 July 1990 Luzon earthquake, scientists reconsidered their fault models and decided it likely that Benham Plateau has similarly displaced the Philippine Fault System to the west. After analysing older models such as that of Pinet and Stephan (1989), scientists reconsidered their fault models. They thought that it is highly likely that the Benham Plateau is still displacing Central Luzon and the Philippine Fault System to the west, which may have had an impact in causing such a catastrophic earthquake. The 20 second to 50 second wave in the 1990 quake that developed a new east-west sub-fault was so strong that it terminated disastrously at the city of Baguio in Benguet, Cordillera. Several scientific surveys, conducted between 2004 and 2008, collected hydrographic data that determined the morphology of the seabed in the region. Additional data from international bathymetric surveys and an analysis of international research projects were collected to support the findings.
Benham Rise has been part of the culture of ancient Filipinos. Ancient Catanduanes people have fished and roamed the area long before the colonial era. In fact, it is celebrated in Catandunganons' folktales, legends and poetry. Today, large percentage of fish caught by Catandunganon comes from Benham Rise. Its local bicol term is called Kalipung-awan (means loneliness in an isolated place).
Territorial waters of the Philippines. The Benham rise is located directly east of Luzon.
Despite its proximity to the archipelago, the plateau was previously not included in the territory of the Philippines. On 8 April 2009, the Republic of the Philippines lodged a partial territorial waters claim with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in relation to the continental shelf in the region of Benham Rise. It was submitted as part of petition expanding the archipelago's baselines and exclusive economic zone through a law that also included other claims involving disputed territories of the Kalayaan Islands (Spratly Islands) and Scarborough Shoal. Although the landform, in itself, is not disputed, the petition still received some criticism inside and outside the country because of its controversial nature. According to the government's claim, based on a set of guidelines by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the area satisfies the 350-mile constraint line since the outer limits of the continental shelf are located landward of the constraint line, which is located 350 miles from the baselines where the measurement of the breadth of the territorial sea begins.
The Congress of the Philippines enacted Republic Act No. 9522, also known as the Archipelagic Baselines Law, which is the basis of the claim. According to the document the region is bounded by the Philippine Basin on the north and east, and by Luzon on the west and south. It asserted that, according to scientific data based on seismic, magnetic, other geological features, the Benham Rise is an extension of the Philippines’ continental shelf. In summary, the baselines, the basis used for delineating the maritime territorial and jurisdictional zones (including the continental shelf), conform with the requirements of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The claim is only a partial claim since the law that allows the Philippines to expand its territorial boundaries also includes islands in the South China Sea.
The Philippines filed its claim for Benham Rise in 2008 in compliance with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The UN has officially approved the claim in April 2012.050212 Continental shelf 2.pngbenham-continental-shelf.jpgimages-1.jpegimages-2.jpegimages-3.jpegimages-4.jpegimages.jpegUnknown-1.jpegUnknown-2.jpegUnknown-3.jpegUnknown-4.jpegUnknown-5.jpegUnknown-6.jpegUnknown.jpeg
Posted 23rd January by Roilo Golez
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