The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), representing + 80% of the world merchant fleet, issues a new position paper on Arctic shipping.
As the Arctic becomes more accessible, ICS has set out some key principles with regard to the future governance of Arctic waters.
Offshore support vessel activity is already significant, while destination shipping is anticipated to grow as the extraction of energy and raw materials is developed. Use of the Northern Sea Route is also a reality for a small but increasing number of ships in the summer months.
ICS therefore stresses the importance of Arctic nations respecting the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and relevant IMO Conventions and Codes such as SOLAS and MARPOL.
ICS Director of External Relations, Simon Bennett explained: “As the volume of Arctic shipping gradually increases, there is a growing awareness about the need for a high degree of care when ships navigate Arctic waters. However, the proper forum for addressing these concerns is the International Maritime Organization, which is currently developing a Polar Code that is expected to be mandatory. It is most important that Arctic nations avoid unilateral measures that might cut across IMO Conventions or the provisions of UNCLOS.”
ICS stresses that individual coastal states should not impose discriminatory treatment that might prejudice the rights of ships registered with non-Arctic nations under international maritime law, such as unilateral ship construction, design and equipment standards.