Both countries will send a joint team to inspect other countries stations, installations and equipment in Antarctica from January 23 to January 28, 2012. Inspections were established in the Antarctic Treaty as a measure to guarantee the correct use of Antarctica by all member countries.
The United States Department of State announced today that from January 23 to January 28, a team of the National Science Foundation and the Russian Antarctic Expedition will conduct a joint inspection to stations and facilities in Antarctica for the first time.
According to the announcement, the binacional team will review the adherence of the inspected activities and installations to the regulations of the Antarctic Treaty. Some of the elements to be considered will be related to limiting environmental impacts to ensure thatAntarctica is used only for peaceful purposes and the prohibition on measures of a military nature.
The inspections will begin this Monday but the targeted stations or facilities have not been announced yet. Both countries have stations and presence inland and in the peninsular area ofAntarctica. The closest stations operated byRussiaand theUSare Bellinghausen and Palmer Stations in theAntarctic Peninsula, the area which concentrates the biggest number of stations.
According to the Antarctic Treaty, all research station must be opened to inspection from the other Antarctic Treaty member countries. This includes all stations, installations and equipment, and all ships and aircrafts at points of discharging or embarking cargoes or personnel in Antarctica. Cruises and touristic vessels must also observe all regulations related to protecting the environment and can be also inspected.
Further information on the Antarctic Treaty and the Environmental Protocol is available here.