Ice Island T-3, an enormous mass of fresh water ice, 135 feet thick, three miles by six miles, has been operated intermittently since 1952. On this, the oldest U. S. drifting ice station, a shooting occurred in July 1970 which resulted in the death of a U. S. citizen. The question of jurisdiction became apparent immediately. The laws of the sea apply to vessels and even to debris, but not to ice islands. The laws of the land? Whose laws? Whose land?
The fatal shooting of a man on a remote Navy Arctic drifting ice station, resulting from a dispute over a batch of home-brewed wine, has raised a jurisdictional issue that may be argued in the courts by international lawyers for years to come. Hopefully, the resolution of this issue will clarify the question as to what country has jurisdiction over a floating iceberg or ice island on the high seas and what agency within the U. S. government has cognizance over legal matters that might arise on such unique pieces of "real estate."