The Arctic: Emerging Maritime Frontier

By Capt. Jonathan S. Spaner
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Capt. Jonathan S. Spaner

The Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Admiral Bob Papp, Jr. spoke of the Arctic as an emerging frontier during the 2013 State of the Coast Guard Address in February 2013. He said, “… one example of what our future holds can be seen in the emerging frontier of the Arctic, where there is a new ocean appearing. In September 2012, we observed the lowest sea ice extent in recorded history, and there are vast areas of open water where there used to be ice…As the receding ice increasingly gives way to commercial ventures, and human and economic presence increases, so do our responsibilities. We must continue to refine our ability to provide–and then support–a persistent operational presence during periods of increasing human activity and environmental risk.”
The United States is an Arctic nation with significant equities in the future of the region. As with all U.S. waters, the Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic. Our efforts are accomplished in close coordination with federal, state, local, tribal, and international partners to facilitate commerce, manage borders, and improve disaster resilience.

Increasing Traffic in Arctic Waters
The Arctic environment is changing. Satellite observations show decreasing multiyear ice and increasing open water during summer. Coastal villages are experiencing environmental changes that make their communities more prone to storm surges, diminishing permafrost, and coastal erosion. Although winter sea travel is still limited, maritime navigation is becoming more feasible during summer and early autumn. Economic development, in the forms of resource extraction, adventure tourism, and trans-Arctic shipping, are driving much of the current activity in the region.
The Arctic region is believed to contain an estimated 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of undiscovered gas (pre-shale). Decreasing sea ice and diminishing onshore oil production are creating incentives for exploration offshore. Concurrently, tourism is increasing rapidly in the Arctic. Due to undeveloped landside infrastructure, much of the increased tourism is expected to involve transportation via passenger vessel, which will further increase activity in Arctic waters. Each of these activities carries maritime risk, which must be managed through appropriate maritime governance.
The Arctic region presents numerous operational challenges including extreme weather, limited infrastructure, vast distances, and remote communities. The Coast Guard currently employs mobile command and control platforms such as the National Security Cutter, as well as air and communications capabilities to meet seasonal Arctic infrastructure requirements. Our approach assists in providing border security, environmental protection, community resilience, and other maritime governance priorities.
Overall, activities of economic growth and development are shaping the future of the Arctic. Indeed, there is a new and historic maritime frontier opening right before our eyes, and modern technology and capabilities are helping to ensure deliberate and responsible development. The Coast Guard will remain an important partner in the future of the region.

Strategic Objectives
The Coast Guard published an Arctic Strategy in May 2013. It is focused on three strategic objectives over the coming decade to ensure safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic:

  • improving awareness,
  • modernizing governance, and
  • broadening partnerships.


Improving awareness: Coast Guard operations require precise and ongoing awareness of the maritime domain. Awareness enables threat identification, information sharing with front-line partners, and improved risk management. Improving awareness also requires close collaboration within the Department of Homeland Security, as well as with the Departments of State, Defense, Interior, Commerce, and other stakeholders to enhance integration, innovation, and fielding of emerging technologies.
Modernizing governance: The concept of governance involves institutions, authority structures, and capabilities necessary to provide maritime governance. The Coast Guard will work within its authorities to foster collective efforts, domestically and internationally, and improve governance. In so doing, the Coast Guard will review its own institutions and regimes of governance to prepare for future Arctic missions. This could include efforts such as developing an Arctic Coast Guard Forum in the future to further implement Arctic Council search and rescue and pollution response agreements.
Broadening partnerships: Operating in the Arctic requires a collective effort among stakeholders, which includes domestic regulatory regimes; international collaborative forums such as the Arctic Council, the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization; and local engagements in Arctic communities focusing on training and assistance. Success in the Arctic also depends upon close intergovernmental cooperation to support national interests, including working closely within DHS, as well as with the Departments of State and Interior, the National Science Foundation, and other federal, state, local and native partners, as the U.S. prepares to assume chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015. 

On the Horizon
Beyond these three strategic objectives, there are a number of additional factors that will position the Coast Guard for long-term success, including building national awareness of the Arctic region and its opportunities, improving public/private relationships, and identifying requirements and resources to shape outcomes favorably.
Operating in the Arctic is not a new venture for the Coast Guard. However, adapting to changing conditions will require foresight, focus, and clear priorities. It will also require the closest of collaboration with our partners in Alaska. Improving awareness, modernizing governance, and broadening partnerships will best position our service for long-term success.  We have published our strategy and are working on implementation to ensure safe, secure and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the future.
 
Access the Coast Guard’s Arctic Strategy document here: http://www.uscg.mil/seniorleadership/DOCS/CG_Arctic_Strategy.pdf



(As published in the January 2014 edition of Marine News - www.marinelink.com)
 

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Navigation

House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights “Dismal State” of U.S. Icebreaking Capability

At the July 23, 2014, hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “Implementing U.S. Policy in the Arctic” the committee chairman, Rep.

More VDR Orders for Danelec in China

Danelec Marine has received orders to supply Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs) and Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) for 18 offshore support vessels in China.

Panama Canal to Celebrate 100 Years

To commemorate its centennial, the Panama Canal will host a series of events August 14-15 in Panama City to highlight the impact of the waterway during the past century.

Environmental

MOL Commended with Quality Ship Awards

MOL Commended for ‘FY2013 Best Quality Ship Award’; MOL president Koichi Muto meets with captain and chief engineer, exchanging views and working to establish a more solid safe operation system.

Danos Adds Environmental Services

Danos recently added an Environmental Services Division to the company’s collection of oilfield related services, which includes production workforce, construction,

Danish Bunker Trader Joins GAC in London

GAC Bunker Fuels says it has appointed former GAC Denmark Shipping Assistant Ida Ryberg as a Bunker Trader with its UK team. Ryberg joins Andy Boichat and Resham

Energy

Jones Act Tanker Chartered for Airline Refinery

Delta Air Lines Inc's refining unit has chartered a U.S.-flagged oil tanker for the first time, allowing it to tap directly into cheap Texas shale oil as the company overhauls its supply strategy.

Study: An Arctic Oil Well Blowout Could Spread More Than 1,000km

Oil from a spill or oil well blowout in the Arctic waters of Canada's Beaufort Sea could easily become trapped in sea ice and potentially spread more than 1,000 kilometres to the west coast of Alaska,

Westermeerwind Wind Farm Construction Begins

Mammoet announced today that Westermeerwind BV has reached financial close on July 25 for the turnkey construction of the Westermeerwind wind farm in Ijsselmeer,

Coast Guard

USCG Change of Command in Galveston

A Coast Guard lieutenant commander and graduate of Hastings High School in Houston, took command of Maritime Safety and Security Team Galveston during a ceremony in Galveston Thursday.

Cause of S.Korea Ferry Businessman's Death Remains Unknown

Yoo's body too badly decomposed to determine cause of death; mystery surrounding final days of de-factor owner of doomed ferry deepens. Yoo's son arrested in latest capture of family members.

USCG Leadership Development Center Change of Command

The Coast Guard’s Leadership Develop Center will have its first change of command ceremony Thursday, July 31 at 11 a.m. in front of Yeaton Hall at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

Maritime Safety

Police Kill 2 Kenyans Suspected of Planning Ferry Attack

Kenyan police said on Friday they shot and killed two armed men suspected of planning an attack on a ferry in the port city of Mombasa after one of them tried to hurl a grenade at approaching police.

Eliminating Cat Fines to Marine Diesel Engines

One can assume that P&I Clubs and shipowners would be very interested in preventing catastrophic Cat Fines damage to diesel engines. Cat Fines have been damaging

MOL Commended with Quality Ship Awards

MOL Commended for ‘FY2013 Best Quality Ship Award’; MOL president Koichi Muto meets with captain and chief engineer, exchanging views and working to establish a more solid safe operation system.

Arctic Operations

Study: An Arctic Oil Well Blowout Could Spread More Than 1,000km

Oil from a spill or oil well blowout in the Arctic waters of Canada's Beaufort Sea could easily become trapped in sea ice and potentially spread more than 1,000 kilometres to the west coast of Alaska,

House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights “Dismal State” of U.S. Icebreaking Capability

At the July 23, 2014, hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “Implementing U.S. Policy in the Arctic” the committee chairman, Rep.

GTT Wins DSME Order for 9 More Icebreaking LNGCs

Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT), a designer of membrane containment systems for the maritime transportation and storage of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), announced

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
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: 0.1879 sec (5 req/sec)