Arctic’s icecap is shrinking 12% faster than it was a decade ago, and nearly all of its older and thicker ice is already gone. Nick Hughes, who leads the Norwegian Ice Service addressed the possibility that in 2045 all vessels might be able to sail straight over the top of the world.
When speaking at the Arctic Frontiers conference, sponsored by Bellona, Mr Hughes highlighted that when Russia tries to harness the Arctic sea passage, the shipping industry threatens to make the environment more fragile than it already is.
The challenges the Arctic environment faces today are high, as a large freight or cruise ship emit equal quantity to that spewed by one million cars in the course of an entire year.
However, the Kremiln’s aim is to increase the cargo traffic that sails through the route to 80 million tons a year. For instance, the Russian Government officially has planned to construct an enormous nuclear icebreaker the Kremlin hopes will make it dominant in Arctic waterways.
In the meantime, the previous summer the Maersk line sent a container ship through the Arctic to test the warming waters, and while the world’s largest shipper isn’t adding any Arctic routes to its schedule just yet, it’s not hard to see a future when it will.
Climate change and warming in the Arctic is already causing serious problems, as the Polar Vortex.
As Bellona noted, a key solution to the climate change and its effect is reeling in the emissions produced by the global fleet, making them less damaging to the environment.
Hurtigruten, in light of its attempts to ban HFO as a potent pollutant is asking for regulations that would ban its use in the Arctic.
Therefore, the company announced that it will launch two new vessels, the MS Roald Amundsen and the MS Fridtjof Nansen that will both be powered by hybrid electric engines.
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