I recently read Tribune's article, “Resolution want proper recognition of Challenger Deep site,” and was disturbed that such a resolution was even conceived. A five-page resolution that seeks to give due credit to Guam and the CNMI for its proximity to the Challenger Deep site is ludicrous considering the challenges that the Legislature should be tackling, namely the Retirement Fund lawsuit, the instability of the local hospital, and the current woes at the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., to name a few.
The site in the Marianas Trench known as Challenger Deep lies 178 miles northwest of Fais Island, one of the outer islands of Yap, and 189 miles southwest of Guam. This ill-conceived five-page resolution contests that Guam and the CNMI are not adequately attributed in the world media, thereby decreasing the potential for profits. This is a futile attempt by ill-educated elected officials to divert resources and efforts to projects that have no bearing on the fate of the CNMI.
By law, Guam and the CNMI have no stake in possible profits from the exploration of the Mariana Trench. Any part of the Marianas Trench that falls within 200 nautical miles (mind you, nautical miles, not land miles) from Guam or the CNMI falls within the United States' exclusive economic zone, thus granting profit rights to the U.S. alone, unless some agreement is conceived between Guam or the CNMI with the United States. Judging from the mere distance to Fais Island, the Federated States of Micronesia actually has more of a right to claim profits from Challenger Deeps explorations than Guam or the CNMI.
To our elected officials, please show some discipline and focus your efforts on actual pressing issues facing our beloved CNMI, and leave your desire for 15 minutes of fame and a photo op with James Cameron at the door.
Christine T. Igisomar
Corpus Christi, Texas