Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, discussed the challenges climate change poses to the transatlantic alliance in the Arctic during the “NATO Engages: Innovating the Alliance” in London.
Three US Senators introduced the Arctic Shipping Federal Advisory Committee Act, aimed to address increasing shipping and maritime traffic by creating an advisory committee to study Arctic maritime transportation, including Arctic seaway development.
The Alaskan state legislature is to restructure the Ocean Rangers program, monitoring cruise ship traffic in the vulnerable waters of Alaska, in opposition with a recently-imposed veto by Alaskan Governor Mike Dunleavy, announced a month ago.
Increased activity in the Arctic is a concern for national security and for US Northern Command, the officer in charge of North American security told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington about the role both agencies play in homeland defense.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is worried about Russia’s aggressive behaviour in the Arctic, while China’s actions should also be watched closely. This comes amid increasing divisions in the Arctic regarding global warming and access to minerals. However, Mr. Pompeo said that all were welcome to share in the Arctic’s wealth.
A federal judge in Alaska has overturned US President Donald Trump’s attempt to open vast areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans to oil and gas leasing, noting that this attempt was ‘unlawful’ and ‘a violation of the federal Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act’.
The crew of US’s only heavy icebreaker, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, returned to Seattle on Monday, March 11, after supporting Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica, the US military operation to resupply the US Antarctic Program. The crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star experienced flooding, an electrical outage, electrical switchboard issues and an incinerator fire, before accomplishing their mission.
Polar Vortex, a pattern of high-altitude winds in the Arctic, weakened resulting to frigid air over North America and Europe in the second half of January 2019. Although the Arctic ice sea extent remained below average, temperatures in the far north were closer to average than in past years. Specifically, Arctic sea ice extent for January averaged 13.56 million square kilometers (5.24 million square miles). This was 860.000 square kilometres less in comparison to 1981 to 2010 long-term average sea ice extent, and 500.000 square kilometres above the record low for the month set in January 2018.
In order to protect the coastline of the US from the dangers of offshore oil drilling, Congressman Jared Huffman reintroduced, on January 8 the West Coast Ocean Protection Act and the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act. TThe Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act would make the Arctic Ocean off-limits to any future drilling proposals by not allowing any new or renewed leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas or any other minerals in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas of the Outer Continental Shelf.
The US Coast Guard and the Navy are collaborating to acquire up to three new heavy polar icebreakers. The US Government Accountability Office reviewed the heavy polar icebreaker program’s acquisition risks. It examined the extent to which the program is facing risks to achieving its goals, reviewed USCG and Navy program documents, and analyzed USCG and Navy data.
- Maritime Software
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