The article Arctic Shipping and Best Practices: What Are the Technological Responses to the Current Safety and Environmental Challenges?” by Thomas Viguer has been recently published in the Report on the Arctic Maritime Routes “Les Routes Maritimes Arctiques: Vers une Redéfinition des Axes Commerciaux?“, by the Institut d'Études de Géopolitique Appliquée based in Paris, France.
Thomas Viguier, former Merchant Marine Officer specialized in safety, security and regional development is expected to graduate by the Polar Law Master Course in Akureyri in June 2021, Iceland, and he is currently project manager at the IACN for the “Arctic Cooperation Webinars Series”.
The article published for EGA analyzes the technological responses to the development of shipping in Arctic waters, focusing on operational risk from the safety and environmental perspectives.
The Arctic Ocean is experiencing a continuous and increasing ice loss for decades now, with the lowest ice levels ever recorded in 2012 and 2019, meaning Arctic waterways are getting more accessible to international shipping. Furthermore, in 2020, the first PAME Arctic Shipping Status Report shows a 25% increase in Arctic shipping over the past 6 years, raising awareness of the growing traffic in the region. This forecast is strengthened by the fact the World Port Index has already listed around 350 ports in the Arctic, an increasing number year after year (e.g., the recently built Port of Sabetta in the Yamal Peninsula).
Nonetheless, the ice and rapidly changing weather and the lack of infrastructure and means to cover maritime operations represent a high risk to operate in the Arctic. Therefore, the main goal in Arctic waters is to reduce risk and provide a safe working environment to attract shipping companies to these routes. In this focus, the NSR is being developed and used as a large-scale laboratory: floating nuclear power plants, new icebreakers, new designs for Arctic tankers with groundbreaking technology, satellites constellations, transnational cooperation, to name but a few. The final goal of the experiment? Finding new technologies, pushing the limits of shipping, creating opportunities and alternatives, and ultimately, challenge the current state of shipping in the Arctic. All of this targeting the safety and environmental risks the development of shipping poses to the Arctic and thus addressing the growing regional needs of development.”