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

People & Company News

VIKING LifeCraft Presented at IMO

This week, VIKING Life-Saving Equipment took a step towards gaining approval for the VIKING LifeCraft, its alternative life-saving appliance (LSA) for passenger ships.

MAN Demonstrates Two-Stroke Methanol Engine Concept

MAN Diesel & Turbo successfully demonstrated its ME-LGI concept engine in front of customers and partners at its Diesel Research Center in Copenhagen on March 17th, the company announced today.

Sea Star Continues Puerto Rico Investments

Sea Star Line, LLC has entered an agreement to on-hire another barge to add to its current service package for shipments from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico.   The

Navigation

Maersk to Install Transas ECDIS on 100 Vessels

Maersk Line, the world's largest container company, has selected Transas Marine for ECDIS implementation on more than 100 vessels, Transas announced today. The

Enhancements for Standard 22 Gyro Compass

The German navigation system manufacturer Raytheon Anschütz has announced a new revision of the Anschütz Standard 22 Gyro Compass System. The enhancements improve

ECDIS to be Installed on 100 plus Maersk Vessels

Maersk Line selected Transas Marine for  ECDIS implementation on  more than 100 vessels.   The contract features Transas state-of-the-art Navi-Sailor ECDIS 4000

Coast Guard

Malaysia Detains Nigerian Bandit Vessel

The Nigerian flagged fishing vessel, Viking, has been detained in Malaysia for violations of Malaysian maritime law.   Malaysian authorities have indicated that

USNS Spearhead Delivers Materials to Ghana Charities

The U.S. Navy’s joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) delivered wheelchairs and medical supplies to Ghanaian non-governmental organizations March 26, 2015.

USCG Flush Ice down River Systems to Facilitate Shipping

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season

Government Update

Syria Taps World Wheat Market as Stocks Run Down

Weeks after Syria said it had no need for wheat imports, the government plans to import 150,000 tonnes and has introduced ways to conserve grain stocks in signs

Keppel FELS Delivers 11th Jackup to Mexico

Keppel FELS Limited (Keppel FELS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M), has delivered a KFELS B Class jackup rig to Mexican national oil company,

IMCA DP Proposal to be Basis for Updating IMO Guidelines

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed to use the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) proposals as the basis for the review of

Arctic Operations

Rolls-Royce Propulsion Package for Polar Ship

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a contract by ship builder Fincantieri to supply a fully integrated propulsion system for Norway’s new Polar Research Vessel, which

USA Urged Not to Delay Arctic Drilling

The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, reports AP.

Nations Convene for Arctic Maritime Discussion

Citing an increasing need to ensure safety, security and stewardship of Arctic waters, member countries of the Arctic Council gathered at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters

Logistics

Sea Star Continues Puerto Rico Investments

Sea Star Line, LLC has entered an agreement to on-hire another barge to add to its current service package for shipments from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico.   The

Rand Logistics Announces Debt Refinancing

Rand Logistics, Inc. announced today that it has closed a $170.0 million revolving loan facility which refinanced approximately $102.0 million of the company's

Baltic Sea Freight Index Edges Higher

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, which tracks rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, edged higher on Monday as rates rose for vessels across all segments.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.2012 sec (5 req/sec)