Arctic Council News

14 Nov 2019

USCG PSC Equals meaningful Polar Presence

An emperor penguin poses for a photo in front of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star in McMurdo Sound near Antarctica on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. The crew of the Seattle-based Polar Star is on its way to Antarctica in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2018, the U.S. military’s contribution to the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Nick Ameen.

The Coast Guard needs a ship that can do more than just break ice; it needs a multi-mission ship to provide for the nation’s security, asserting its sovereign rights, and protecting its long-term economic interests. That ship is the Polar Security Cutter.Since Russia cashed the check in 1867 for the purchase of Alaska the U.S. has been an Arctic nation. Today, it is one of eight countries that have territorial land or seas above the Arctic Circle or in the polar region (six of those countries have Arctic Ocean coastline or an exclusive economic zone above the Arctic Circle). The U.S.

04 Jun 2019

Implementing Polar Code

Pic: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Maritime Organization (IMO)  was on hand to offer advice and guidance at the third edition of the Arctic Council's Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum, held in London, United Kingdom (3-4 June).The Forum supports the effective implementation of IMO's Polar Code. This year's theme was "'From Theory to Practice" and provided an opportunity for sharing of best practices and experiences.The Forum was attended by representatives from a range of stakeholders with an interest in safe and environmentally sound Arctic shipping…

19 May 2019

NGOs Furious on Lack of Arctic Action

Pic: Clean Arctic Alliance

The Clean Arctic Alliance expressed frustration over Members States’ failure to address the risk to the Arctic from emissions of black carbon from international shipping, after a meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) closed in London.A proposal by the Clean Shipping Coalition and Clean Arctic Alliance member Pacific Environment to immediately switch away from heavy fuel oil – a major source of shipping’s black carbon emissions – to distillate fuels did not garner adequate support from Member States.There was however…

07 May 2019

Arctic Council Grants Observer Status to IMO

Pic: IMO

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been granted observer status at the Arctic Council.According to the UN body, this will allow IMO to build on previous cooperation with the Arctic Council and engage in close collaboration on a range issues related to shipping in the Arctic, in particular, search and rescue, pollution response and maritime safety and protection of the marine environment.IMO has adopted the  Polar Code, which provides mandatory requirements for ships operating in the harsh environment of the Polar regions…

06 May 2019

Pompeo Warns About Russia, China Activities in Arctic

© a_medvedkov / Adobe Stock

U.S.

07 Dec 2018

Union of Greek Shipowners Joins Arctic Economic Council

Pic: Union of Greek Shipowners

The Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS) announced its acceptance as member to the Arctic Economic Council (AEC), the independent organization acting as the primary forum for interaction between the Arctic Council and the wider circumpolar and non-Arctic business communities.“Greek shipowners, who are hands-on operators and control 20% of the total world tonnage in deadweight and about 50% of the total European Union fleet, are primarily involved in cross trading activities carrying…

07 Dec 2018

Coast Guard Commandant Optimistic About Icebreaker Funding

A file image of the Coast Guard's lone heavy icebreaker, the Polar Star. Image CREDIT: USCG

The United States may soon get funding for a new heavy icebreaker ship, the head of the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday, as global warming spurs the race to stake out the Arctic, which is rich in oil, gas, and minerals.The United States has two operational icebreakers - a heavy one, the Polar Star, which is more than 42 years old and has outlived its life expectancy by a dozen years, and a medium one, the Healy cutter.By comparison, Russia has about 40 to 50 icebreakers, purpose-built vessels that can rescue other ships…

04 Nov 2018

Arctic Council Focuses on Biodiversity

Photo: Arctic Council Secretariat

Representatives of the eight Arctic States and six indigenous Permanent Participant organizations, as well as the Arctic Council’s six  Working Groups and more than thirty Observers, met in Rovaniemi, Finland  last week. The Council focused its thematic discussion on biodiversity in the Arctic and welcomed updates from the six Working Groups, two Task Forces, and one Expert Group, as well as interventions from Observers. During the biodiversity discussion Working Groups presented their ongoing efforts to advance biodiversity conservation…

28 Aug 2018

Finland: A Hot-Bed of ICEBREAKER Technology

In 2016 the most recent Finnish icebreaker, Ib Polaris, was built at a cost of EUR123m. Arctia Ltd. received an LNG fueled double-acting PC4 class icebreaker capable of penetrating 1.8m thick level ice with a speed of 3.5 knots. Photo: Tuomas Romu and Arctia Ltd.

Finland is a traditional marine tech hub, with almost 90 company members in the Finnish Maritime Industries association. While the country has a storied maritime history across many sectors, based on geographic locale, it’s Arctic and ice marine technology is second to none, and it’s hoping the U.S. Coast Guard is taking notice.The Finnish maritime industry is hoping to get involved in developing the new icebreakers for the U.S. Coast Guard polar icebreaker program. Ulla Lainio…

26 Jan 2018

China Reveals “Polar Silk Road” in Arctic

Xi Jinping, President, China. Photo: Hellenic Chinese Center for Entrepreunership

China unveiled its ambitions to develop a "Polar Silk Road" through the Arctic, joining a multinational race to exploit opportunities in the resource-rich region, as the shipping lanes opened up by global warming. China said it would encourage enterprises to build infrastructure and conduct commercial trial voyages, paving the way for Arctic shipping routes, in its first official Arctic policy white paper. "China hopes to work with all parties to build a 'Polar Silk Road' through developing the Arctic shipping routes," the paper, issued by the State Council Information Office, said.

12 May 2017

Arctic Council Meeting Stirs Hidden Tensions

Photo credit: Arctic Council Secretariat / Linnea Nordström

As foreign ministers from countries with territory in the far North celebrated an agreement on fighting climate change this week, one topic seethed below the surface: growing competition for Arctic resources and sea lanes as the ice melts. Russia, one of eight members of the Arctic Council which includes the United States, Canada and the Nordic countries, has been pouring money and missiles into the Arctic as well as reopening and building bases there. This is bringing its Arctic military presence to the highest level since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

17 Mar 2017

Finnish Firms Present Oil Recovery Project Results

Hanna Suutarla, Arctia’s Development Manager, presents the results of the IMOR Project. (Photo: Arctia)

A recent seminar held March 7 and 8 in Porvoo, Finland, saw Finnish companies Arctia and Lamor Corporation present the results of the IMOR (Ice Management & Oil Recovery) project, which seeks to enhance oil recovery in ice conditions. The oil recovery seminar, arranged by icebreaking services provider Arctia in collaboration with oil spill response specialist Lamor, was opened by the company’s respective CEOs, Tero Vauraste and Fred Larsen. In his speech, Vauraste stated that oil recovery is a key part of Arctia’s range of services.

17 Mar 2017

USCG Commandant Delivers State of the Coast Guard Address

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft  (Photo: USCG)

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft delivered the 2017 State of the Coast Guard Address at the National Press Club Thursday. This was Adm. Zukunft's third State of the Coast Guard Address and he emphasized the service as a unique instrument of national security. First and foremost an armed service, the Coast Guard is the only branch of the U.S. armed forces that has broad law enforcement authorities and a portfolio of more than 60 bi-lateral agreements that extend around the globe, Zukunft said.

10 Mar 2017

Arctic Matters

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The  International Maritime Organization (IMO) Polar Code took centre stage at the Arctic Council in Juneau, Alaska, United States (8-9 March) where IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim delivered a speech on the importance of the Code. Secretary-General Lim highlighted the safety of seafarers and the environmental protection as key elements of the Code. The meeting unveiled its 2017-2019 programme which focuses on addressing the effects of climate change and fostering sustainable development.

10 Feb 2017

First Meet of Arctic Economic Council held

Meeting in Russia Photo AEC

A meeting of the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) was held in Saint Petersburg on the premises of SCF Arctic, a subsidiary of Sovcomflot Group (PAO Sovcomflot), on 7-8 February 2017. The meeting was attended by business community representatives from Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and the USA, as well as several organizations of indigenous peoples of the Arctic: Gwich'in Council International, Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Inuit Circumpolar Association, and RAIPON (Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North).

30 Jan 2017

Russia Ramping Up Arctic Push

A Russian icebreaker currently under construction at Arctech Helsink Shipyard (Photo: Eric Haun)

The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy of the Soviet Union's Arctic great game, lies at perpetual anchor in the frigid water here. A relic of the Cold War, it is now a museum. But nearly three decades after the Lenin was taken out of service to be turned into a visitor attraction, Russia is again on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers. It is part of a push to firm Moscow's hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China.

27 Nov 2016

The Arctic Is In Meltdown

Photo Courtesy: Greenpeace

The Arctic has lost almost 95% of its older ice cover since 1984, says NASA. The area covered by Arctic sea ice at least four years old has decreased from 1,860,000 square kilometres in September 1984 to 110,000 square kilometres in September 2016. ABC News quoted a report produced by the Arctic Council -- an intergovernmental forum of eight member countries that include the U.S., Canada and Russia -- stressed that changes to the Arctic have "global implications," including feedback loops…

21 Oct 2016

Changing Spill Risk in a Changing Arctic Landscape

Dagmar Schmidt Etkin

Industry analyst and environmental consultant Dagmar Schmidt Etkin, PhD, takes a hard look at a rapidly shifting operational landscape in the Arctic. Always an honest broker of information, Etkin tells it like it is. Oil spill risk is present anywhere that oil is present in reservoirs, or is transported, consumed, stored, and handled in some way. The Arctic is no exception. Not only are there oil reserves in the Arctic, some of which are being or will soon be considered for exploration and production, there is also oil being transported as cargo or as fuel to Arctic communities.

30 Sep 2016

Stakeholders Discuss Use of HFO in the Arctic

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) held a public listening session in Washington D.C. on September 27, 2016 to address ships’ use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic, examining its risks and as well as potential mitigation strategies which can be taken to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The event was held in the Department of Transportation building, where Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, Sr., Maritime Administrator for the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), welcomed participants. The listening session was led by Jeff Lantz, director of Commercial Regulations and Standards at USCG headquarters, and head of U.S. Delegation to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee and Marine Environment Protection Committee.

19 Jun 2016

Amid Melting Arctic Ice, Kerry sees Looming Climate Catastrophe

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Official Portrait Photo John Kerry -@JohnKerry

Standing near Greenland's Jakobshavn glacier, the reputed source of the iceberg that sank the Titanic over a century ago, U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saw evidence of another looming catastrophe. Giant icebergs broken off from the glacier seemed to groan as they drifted behind him, signaling eventual rising oceans that scientists warn will submerge islands and populated coastal region. Briefed by researchers aboard a Royal Danish Navy patrol ship, Kerry appeared stunned by how fast the ice sheets are melting.

29 Apr 2016

ECSA Looks Forward to Improvement of Shipping Conditions in Arctic

Photo: The Whitmore Group

European shipowners believe that the three priority areas of the new EU Arctic Policy Communication published by the Commission this week address all topical Arctic matters. Climate change and environment, sustainable development and international cooperation in the Arctic are equally important. “We appreciate the focus of the EU to the Arctic matters by developing this more coherent framework for EU action and funding programmes in the Arctic. In all follow-up actions the Arctic States should continue to be consulted by the EU”, said ECSA Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven.

20 Apr 2016

China to Use Arctic Shipping Route

Image: China's Maritime Safety Administration

China plans to make use of Arctic sea route for its shipping to shorten the distance by 30 per cent compared to the ocean passages traditionally used to connect the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans through Panama Canal. Chinese ships will navigate the Arctic via a Northwest Passage route that will be 30 per cent shorter than the ocean passages, official media here reported. “Once this route is commonly used, it will directly change global maritime transportation and have a profound influence on international trade…

14 Mar 2016

Japan, Finland Cooperation for Arctic

Japan and Finland are ready for Arctic cooperation, including the use of the Northern Sea Route and the development of Barents Euro-Arctic region. The sea route has attracted global attention as shipping lanes have opened up due to global warming-induced loss of summer sea ice and is seen as a valuable route connecting Asia and Europe, the shortest possible sea passage linking the continents. The Abe-Niinisto talks came as Japan hopes to strengthen ties with Finland, especially in the development of the Arctic region, Japanese officials said. Japanese authorities have been paying more and more attention to the Arctic. The country became an observer to the Arctic Council in 2013, and has observer status to the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

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