troubled watersTroubled waters

Polar patrol

transport ship
A transport ship crossing Arctic waters

Reduced sea ice is very likely to increase marine transport and access to resources

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) November 2004: Key finding #6

Risky business

an Icebreaker
Arctic cruises are growing in popularity

The number of cruise based tourists around Greenland doubled from 2004 to 2010 to over 30,000. The number has fallen back to 22,000 in 2013, mostly in the summer months, with over half (12,000) visiting in September. Visit Greenland Tourism Statistics for other aspects of Greenland tourism.

The Northern Sea Route primarily lies along the northern coast of Russia. Go to What are the Northwest and Northeast Passages? for more information about the sea routes around the Arctic. Navigation season for transit passages in the Northern Sea Route starts approximately at the beginning of July and lasts through to the second half of November. In 2013 25 vessels said from west to east along this route and 21 sailed from east to west. Download Transits Final 2013 (pdf) for origins and destinations of the ships in the Northern Sea Route.

The risks for shipping in Arctic waters are high sailing in a remote and vast region, at times through treacherous ice choked waters, is difficult and dangerous. The International Marine .Organisation is developing a mandatory polar shipping code for the Polar Regions. The Polar Code is intended to cover the full range of shipping-related matters relevant to navigation in waters surrounding the two poles - ship design, construction and equipment; operational and training concerns; search and rescue; and, equally important, the protection of the unique environment and ecosystems of the polar regions.


Look at all the parts of this section. What do you think should be in such a code for the Arctic?

What might the differences be between such a code in the Arctic and Antarctica?

This presentation helps you to discover what is happening in the Northeast Passage.

More information

Arctic Bulletin - Download "Arctic Bulletin" and find out about the WWF ideas for an interim 'code of practice' for ship owners (pages 18 and 19)


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