| FNI NEWS
Arctic Shipping: Transit Still Far off, but Legal Regime
(13.04.2007) Shipping in the
Arctic will increase rapidly due to climate change, but large-scale transit
operations are still far off. The current legal regime for Arctic shipping is
to some extent inadequate to accommodate developments. These were the main
conclusions from a seminar FNI organized this week on the prospects for Arctic
The first session of the seminar focused on
the general picture and outlook for (trans)Arctic shipping. Former Head of
FNI's INSROP Secretariat
Claes Lykke Ragner made an outline of previous
research and current knowledge regarding the potential of transarctic shipping.
Dr. Lawson Brigham, Deputy Director of the US Arctic Research Commission and
former US Coast Guard polar icebreaker captain, then commented on what recent
sea ice trends will mean for Arctic navigation. He also presented the current
work of the Arctic Council's Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA), which he
chairs. Finally, Director Lars Almklov of the Norwegian Shipowners' Association
offered some industry perspectives on the outlook and conditions for regional
and transit shipping in the Arctic.
The three agreed that while it now
seems probable that climate change and the receding ice cover eventually will
enable transarctic navigation, large-scale transit usage on commercial terms is
not likely to be feasible for another several decades, mainly because ice
conditions will still be too severe and too variable. All speakers however
expected a continued large increase in regional traffic, not least cruiser
traffic around Greenland and in other Arctic areas, as well as traffic related
to petroleum development in and around the Barents and Kara Seas.
second session focused on legal, regulatory and administrative aspects of
Arctic shipping. FNI Researcher Øystein
Jensen made an outline of the main unsettled legal issues of relevance to
Arctic shipping, while Senior Vice President Wilhelm Magelssen of DNV spoke on
the special challenges that Arctic operation poses for ships and crews, and how
this should be regulated to minimize risk. Finally, the Chairman of the EU
Maritime Policy Task Force, John Richardson, spoke on the EU Maritime Policy
Green Paper and its relevance for Arctic shipping.
There was agreement
that the legal regime regulating Arctic navigation is weak in some respects.
There is a need to settle a number of jurisdictional questions and conflicts,
to strengthen operational regulations, and to improve marine environmental
protection. There appeared to be a strong consensus at the seminar that this
should mainly be done through state implementation of binding, global IMO
Approximately 50 persons participated at the seminar, with
good representation from the shipping industry, regulating authorities,
academia and environmental NGOs.
Electronic versions of the presentations are available
please contact Claes Lykke
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|The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an
independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental,
energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a
multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science,
economics, and international law.