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…

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 …