Potential International Regimes for Arctic Marine Transportation

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"The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is a national transportation route under full Russian control and jurisdiction, stretching from the archipelago of Novaya Zemlya in the west to the Bering Strait in the east (Ostreng Scandianvian Review 2002, 77). Geographically, it differs from other waterways, like the Suez or Panama Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway. Firstly, the NSRs length is around 2,600 nautical miles; secondly, most of the NSR is covered by thick ice during nine months of the year. Substantial reduction of shipping distances between North Asia and Europe, as well as imports from the Russian Arctic, rich in mineral and energy resources, make NSR immediately attractive. "Last year, the Institute of the North (ION) worked on a substantial research endeavor involving the political and economic development trends of the Northern Sea Route. The product of that project was an internal white paper on the subject entitled, 'Political and Economic Strategies Northern Regions May Follow to Establish Regular Shipping on the Northern Sea Route' "Mentioned in the concluding remarks of that report was the fact that 'next steps require an invitation from Russia to collaborate, an understanding and a willingness of its neighbors to join, and rigorous leadership to reduce the risks that will deter financing of the Northern Sea Routes technical needs.' The goal of this paper is to analyze existing domestic and international regimes that control the regulatory and market bodies of the Northern Sea Route, Northwest Passage, and Arctic marine shipping overall. It will then propose potential regimes for collectively organizing shipping in the Arctic regions. This proposal is important because many northern regions and nations have a fundamental interest in an international cooperative effort to build a regional infrastructure that will develop the regulations and market for Arctic maritime shipping."
IASC, arctic regions, regimes--international, transportation--international, regulation--international, cooperation--international, marine resources