Melting Arctic brings new opportunities

22 Decem­ber 2011, Aljazeera, Michael Byers
Van­cou­ver, Canada - “For the first time in my life, I’m try­ing to find ice.”

Alex Mac­In­tyre was stand­ing on the bridge of the Akademik Ioffe as the Russian-flagged ice-strengthened cruise ship tra­versed the North­west Pas­sage last sum­mer. A Cana­dian ice-pilot with four decades of Arc­tic expe­ri­ence, Mac­In­tyre remem­bers when the route was choked with sea-ice that was 10 to 15 metres thick.


Marine protection in the Arctic cannot wait

12 Octo­ber 2011, Nature, Law­son Brigham
Most peo­ple know that pro­found change is hap­pen­ing in the Arc­tic Ocean. Most peo­ple would say that this is because the sea ice there is in retreat. But most peo­ple would be wrong. Changes in ice cover are only part of a story that is, in fact, dri­ven largely by eco­nom­ics and geopol­i­tics. Despite the head­lines, policy-makers, plan­ners and reg­u­la­tors need to look beyond the dis­ap­pear­ing ice and under­stand the eco­nomic dri­vers to grasp the urgent need for mar­itime reg­u­la­tions to address the boom­ing devel­op­ment of the region. More…

Two major Arctic Ocean shipping routes open simultaneously as ice recedes

1 Sep­tem­ber 2011, Mer­co­Press
Satel­lites in 2008 saw the North­west Pas­sage in the Cana­dian Arc­tic and the North­ern Sea Route above Rus­sia were open simul­ta­ne­ously for the first time since satel­lite mea­sure­ments started, and researchers say it has hap­pened again, the Euro­pean Space Agency reported in a release from its Paris head­quar­ters this week. More…

Canada boosts claim to Northwest Passage

11 May 2011, Finan­cial Times, Bernard Simon
A plan to open up north­ern Que­bec to resource devel­op­ment will help bol­ster Canada’s dis­puted claims to the North­west Pas­sage, accord­ing to Jean Charest, pre­mier of the French-speaking province.

With global warm­ing, a north­ern route is going to open up just on the tip of north­ern Que­bec by 2030 or 2040,” Mr Charest told the Finan­cial Times.


Melting Arctic Ocean opens shipping frontier

21 August 2008, MSNBC
BARROW, Alaska — Rapidly melt­ing ice on Alaska’s Arc­tic is open­ing up a new nav­i­ga­ble ocean in the extreme north, allow­ing oil tankers, fish­ing ves­sels and even cruise ships to ven­ture into a realm once trolled mostly by indige­nous hunters

The Coast Guard expects so much traf­fic that it opened two tem­po­rary sta­tions on the nation’s north­ern­most waters, antic­i­pat­ing the day when an ocean the size of the con­tigu­ous United States could be ice-free for most of the sum­mer. More…

All foreign vessels entering Canadian Arctic waters should register with authorities says report by Senate Fisheries and Oceans Committee

14 Decem­ber 2009 (Ottawa), Lib­eral Sen­ate Forum
All for­eign ves­sels enter­ing Cana­dian Arc­tic waters should be required to report to NORDREG – the Arc­tic Canada Traf­fic Sys­tem – regard­less of ves­sel size or ton­nage, says a report by the Stand­ing Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Fish­eries and Oceans, enti­tled Con­trol­ling Cana­dian Arc­tic Waters: Role of the Cana­dian Coast Guard. Cur­rently, for­eign ves­sels tran­sit­ing the North­west Pas­sage have no oblig­a­tion to report to any Cana­dian author­ity, as long as they do not land. More…

A Bering Strait Vessel Traffic Service: Critical Infrastructure for an Opening Arctic (Part I)

6 Feb­ru­ary 2012, The Arc­tic Insti­tute: Cen­ter for Cir­cum­po­lar Secu­rity Stud­ies, Olin Strader
Nations and multi-national cor­po­ra­tions are posi­tion­ing them­selves to take full advan­tage of the Arctic’s North­west Pas­sage (NWP) and North­ern Sea Route (NSR). How­ever, there is very lit­tle safety infra­struc­ture in place to ensure incident-free tran­sit. Both of these Sea Lines of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion ter­mi­nate in the Bering Strait, the gate­way to the Arc­tic. In this crit­i­cal water space it is essen­tial the United States and Rus­sia begin con­sid­er­ing how to man­age traf­fic through this strate­gic choke point. More … 

RPT-FEATURE-Arctic ice melt lifts hopes for Russian maritime trade

30 Jan­u­ary 2012, Reuters
SEVERODVINSK, Rus­sia, Jan 27 (Reuters) — When severe snow­storms pre­vented life-sustaining fuel sup­plies from reach­ing the frozen Alaskan town of Nome, U.S. offi­cials turned to a Russ­ian com­pany for help.

The relief mis­sion through per­ilous, ice-choked seas was the first mid-winter fuel deliv­ery to west­ern Alaska, cap­ping a year of pio­neer­ing ship­ping as oil and gas devel­op­ment and cli­mate change increase traf­fic along north­ern trade routes sought by cen­turies of Arc­tic explor­ers. More …

Inuit hunters buttress theory Arctic Ocean is approaching ‘tipping point’

16 Jan­u­ary 2012, Arc­ticDis­patch, Doug O’Harra
The Arc­tic Ocean might look like an iso­lated body at the top of the world, but sev­eral multi-year inves­ti­ga­tions have found deep inter­con­nec­tions with the Pacific and Atlantic oceans — and new evi­dence that the polar sea may be poised to undergo a dra­matic change in struc­ture and life, senior cli­mate oceanog­ra­pher Eddy Car­mack told the open­ing ses­sion of an annual marine sci­ence con­fer­ence in Anchor­age. More …