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Summary of Working Paper No. 128-1999

Simulation Study Work Package 7 Legal and Environmental Evaluation of the Routes Slected for the INSROP Simulation Study

By A. Yakovlev, G. Semanov and Y. Ivanov, Central Marine Research and Design Institute, St.Petersburg, Russia; Alexander Ushakov, Northern Sea Route Administration, Moscow, Russia; S. Zubarev and M. Gavrilo, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St.Petersburg, Russia; V. Khlebovitch, Zoological Institute, St.Petersburg, Russia; K.A. Moe and O.W. Brude, Alpha Environmental Consultants, Oslo, Norway; and J. Thomassen, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway.

The first part of the present paper is concerned with the legal evaluation of the selected routes. The legal evaluation of the Northern (high - latitudinal) and the Southern (coastal) transit routes has been made in full detail. The evaluations of the Western and Eastern regional routes have been made with regard to foreign vessels calling at the Arctic ports only, on condition that these ports are open for this purpose.

The provisions of Article 234 of the 1982 UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, dealing with ice covered regions within the limits of the exclusive economic zone, serve as a basis for regulation of shipping. Evaluation of the legal regime for access and order of navigation along the selected routes has been made in accordance with the Russian Regulations for Navigation on the Seaways of the Northern Sea Routes (NSR), 1991, and Guide to Navigation Through the NSR, 1996.

The second part of the present paper is concerned with the environmental evaluation of the selected routes. An obligatory aspect of the simulation study of NSR Commercial shipping is a preliminary environment impact assessment (PEIA). This item is considered in the second part of the project report.

The assessment is carried out with taking into consideration the proposed activity scenario on NSR. According to the scenario it is assumed that 20 container carriers of about 40000 t dwt will be involved to transport cargo from Asia to Europe and back. The ships navigate only in summer and an early autumn season. When carrying out the work, the authors determined some features of shipping harmful factors. The main of them are wastes discharged into sea and emissions to air from ships, such as oily water, sewage, garbage, sulphur and nitrogen oxides. Every ship sailing along the NSR is provided with oil filtering equipment, incinerators and sewage treatment plants. The main parts of wastes are utilised on board the ship with the exemption of emissions from diesel engines.

The PEIA has been performed according to the appropriate Russian environment legislation and the INSROP accepted EIA procedure which was adapted for the purpose of the project.

The preliminary impact assessment obtained for NSR area gives ground for conclusion of a minor negative impact from the assessed activities, provided a conventional navigation practice is observed and natural and legal peculiarities of the area are taken into account.