What is INSROP

INSROPs objective and research philosophy

The research policy of INSROP has been that one must be well aquainted with the scope of environmental, human, cultural and political parameters before the route is exposed to a sharp increase in use. The users of the route must have a common knowledge base and understanding upon which to draw in order to keep problems to a minimum and optimise the advantages to be gained by using the route.

However, it has not been the task of INSROP to legitimise an increased use of the NSR based upon economic interests, or for that matter a closing of it based on environmental interests. Such decisions are entirely up to the Russian government at any time. INSROP's task has been to build up a scientifically based knowledge foundation encompassing all relevant aspects of this problem complex to enable public authorities and private interests to make rational decisions based upon scientific insight rather than upon mythology and insufficient knowledge.

INSROP history

INSROP is a direct result of the normalisation of the international situation and the Murmansk Initiatives of the former Soviet Union in 1987, when the readiness of the USSR to open the NSR for international shipping was officially declared. The Murmansk Initiatives enabled the continuation, expansion and intensification of traditional collaboration between the states in the Arctic, including safety and efficiency of shipping. Russia, being the successor state to the USSR, supports the Murmansk Initiatives. The initiatives stimulated contact and co-operation between Central Marine Research & Design Institute (CNIIMF) and Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) in 1988 and resulted in a pilot study in 1991. In 1992 Ship & Ocean Foundation (SOF) entered INSROP as a third partner on an equal basis with CNIIMF and FNI.

INSROP's Phase 1 took place in 1993-95. After an independent evaluation by an eight-member international evaluation committee of scientists chaired by retired US Coast Guard captain and scholar Lawson Brigham, the three co-operating partners in INSROP decided to carry out a two-year Phase 2 in 1997-98.

The research has been organised in four sub-programmes:

I. Natural Conditions and Ice Navigation

II. Environmental Factors

III. Trade and Commercial Shipping Aspects

IV. Political, Legal and Strategic Factors

Phase 1 resulted in 112 peer reviewed INSROP Working Papers as well as the hardcover volume (Northern Sea Route; Future and Perspective) containing the proceedings of the INSROP Symposium Tokyo '95, and the book publication W. Østreng (ed.): National Security and International Environmental in the Arctic - The Case of the Northern Sea Route.

In INSROP Phase 2, a numerical simulation of NSR sailing based on different scenarios has been carried out, digitised information about the NSR in the form of an INSROP Geographical Information System (GIS) has been assembled, and a book manuscript based on the analysis and integration of five years of multidisciplinary research has been presented. In addition, INSROP Phase 2 has produced another 54 peer reviewed Working Papers. Final conclusions, recommendations will be presented early 1999, along with the INSROP GIS database.


See also

INSROP sub-programmes

Sponsors for INSROP

Institutions involved in INSROP work

Persons involved in INSROP