GAO: Limited Commercial Arctic Development Foreseen

MarineLink.com
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Arctic Tow: File photo

Decreasing seasonal sea ice has opened up Arctic waters for longer periods with resulting potential economic opportunities in commercial shipping, cruises, commercial fishing, oil, and mining. In light of the importance of U.S. efforts to effectively manage Arctic issues, GAO was asked to examine U.S. actions related to developing and investing in Arctic maritime infrastructure, which it did without making any recommendations.

The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) had earlier prioritized two broad categories to be addressed in the near term: information infrastructure, such as mapping and charting, and response services, such as search and rescue. Implementation of those actions is at the discretion of each federal agency.

This report discusses:
(1) current commercial maritime activity in the U.S. Arctic and anticipated activity in the next 10 years,
(2) actions taken by government entities in support of planning and developing U.S. Arctic maritime infrastructure, and
(3) federal interagency efforts to identify and prioritize Arctic maritime-infrastructure investments.

GAO interviewed representatives from the commercial-shipping, cruise, commercial-fishing, oil, and mining industries and government entities involved in the U.S. Arctic.

Site visits were conducted to Nome, Barrow, and Anchorage, Alaska. These sites were selected based on factors such as geographic location and infrastructure activity.

Report findings
Commercial U.S. Arctic maritime activities are expected to be limited for the next 10 years, according to industry representatives, due to a variety of factors. Interviews with industry representatives highlighted a variety of general challenges related to operating in the Arctic, such as geography, extreme weather, and hard-to-predict ice floes.

Industry-specific factors were also cited as contributing to limited commercial activity. For example, shipping companies noted higher costs with Arctic transit; cruise industry groups noted a lack of demand for Arctic cruises from the mainstream cruise-consumer base, and oil companies last drilled offshore exploratory wells in the U.S. Arctic in 2012.

Although the activity will likely be limited, federal, state, and local stakeholders have taken some actions to plan for future maritime-infrastructure investments. Some of these actions address factors that, as identified by industry representatives, contribute to the current and expected limited maritime activity in the U.S. Arctic.

For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in collaboration with the State of Alaska, has taken steps to study the development of an Arctic deepwater port; the lack of which is a factor identified by mining representatives as contributing to the expected limited mining activity in the U.S. Arctic.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is in the preliminary phase of seeking to acquire a new polar icebreaker, which could be used for emergency response, research assistance, or patrols.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
and the Alaska government are working to improve mapping, charting, and weather information for the U.S. Arctic.

GAO Recommendations
GAO states it is not making recommendations in this report. USCG, NOAA, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of the Interior sent GAO technical comments on this report, which were incorporated as appropriate. USACE did not have any comments on this report.

 

 

Maritime Reporter May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Solarworld Wants Duties on Chinese Solar Goods in U.S. Extended

German solar manufacturer SolarWorld will apply to the United States for an extension of duties on Chinese panel imports that are due to end this year, weekly Euro am Sonntag said.

Sea Urchin Haven Disturbed by Oil Spill

Stephanie Mutz makes a living plucking sea urchins from the Santa Barbara coast and selling the prickly treasure to upscale restaurants in Southern California.

5 Tunisian Migrants Die in Shipwreck

At least five Tunisian migrants died on Saturday when their boat sailing to Italy capsized off the Tunisian coast, officials said. "A migrant boat carrying

Navigation

Seaway to Receive Prestigious OECD Award

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced today that it will receive a prestigious award from the Organization for Economic Cooperation

IMO Adopts Polar Code Environmental Provisions

United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the environmental part of the Polar Code. Hereby, internationally binding regulations on

NAVTOR AS, Nautic AB Launch Complete Navigation Solution

E-navigation specialist NAVTOR has joined forces with Nautic AB, a provider of navigational equipment, charts and publications to the Swedish market, to launch NAVTOR NAUTIC AB.

Coast Guard

5 Tunisian Migrants Die in Shipwreck

At least five Tunisian migrants died on Saturday when their boat sailing to Italy capsized off the Tunisian coast, officials said. "A migrant boat carrying

USCG Assists Sinking Vessel East of Nantucket

The Coast Guard is responding to a fishing boat taking on water 130 miles east of Nantucket, Massachusetts, Saturday. At about 12:45 a.m., the fishing vessel

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

Government Update

Solarworld Wants Duties on Chinese Solar Goods in U.S. Extended

German solar manufacturer SolarWorld will apply to the United States for an extension of duties on Chinese panel imports that are due to end this year, weekly Euro am Sonntag said.

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

Launch of First Future Destroyer, Hobart

Speech delivered by the Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews during the launch of Hobart - the first future destroyer: Thank you for being here on this very important day.

Arctic Operations

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

U.S. Senators Urge Obama to Block Arctic Oil Drilling

A group of 18 mostly Democratic U.S. senators on Friday urged the Obama administration to stop Royal Dutch Shell's preparations for oil exploration in the Arctic,

IMO Adopts Polar Code Environmental Provisions

United Nations' International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the environmental part of the Polar Code. Hereby, internationally binding regulations on

Logistics

Viking Orders 2 Liebherr Cranes

An LR 1300 with super lift equipment and an LR 1160 crawler crane will strengthen the fleet of Viking Cranes. The Tallinn-based company with branch offices

Red Tape, Industrial Relations Could Stifle LNG Potential

Australia could develop the world’s most technologically advanced LNG industry, according to a report by Accenture. But if industry is to reach its potential

KPCT Launches New Gulf Service

Containerized volumes are steadily increasing on the East Coast of India. Keeping pace with the growth, Krishnapatnam Port Co. Ltd. (KPCT) now offers a new service to the Gulf sector.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2866 sec (3 req/sec)