Monday, May 21, 2018

Arctic Council News

GAO: U.S. Can Do Better on Arctic Policy

The U.S. needs a better strategy to coordinate and prioritize its policies related to the Arctic region, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study out today that was released by Reps. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Tim Bishop (NY-01), John Garamendi (CA-03) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK). The GAO study focused on U.S. participation in the Arctic Council, a voluntary body started in 1996 that includes the eight Arctic nations—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S., as well as indigenous groups and other stakeholders.

Photo: World Ocean Council

Sustainable Ocean Summit 2013

The Sustainable Ocean Summit 2013 (SOS 2013), organized by the World Ocean Council (WOC), is an international ocean business community gathering dedicated to industry leadership and collaboration in developing solutions to ocean sustainability challenges. Washington D.C. The theme of SOS 2013 is “Oceans 2050–The Ocean Business Community and Sustainable Seas.” The SOS is designed for the diverse range of ocean industries: shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, offshore renewable energy…

NB506/7 OSV: Image credit Archtec

Arctic OSV Named at Arctech Yard

Arctic offshore vessel NB 507 has been named after Russian Navigator Aleksey Chirikov at Arctech Helsinki Shipyard. The vessel will be delivered to the largest Russian shipping company Sovcomflot shortly and will continue its path straight to Sakhalin area in Far East Russia, where it will supply the Arkutun-Dagi oil and gas field. Arctech has built two arctic offshore supply vessels for Russian company Sovcomflot, which specialises in hydrocarbon transportation from Arctic and subarctic regions with challenging icy conditions.

Arctic Oil Spill Icebreaker: Image courtesy of Aker Arctic Technology

New Arctic Oil Spill Recovery Icebreaker

Aker Arctic Technology to introduce the ‘Heavy Duty’ oblique icebreaker project for Arctic operations (Aker ARC 100 HD) at upcoming expo. The ARC 100 HD is a new advance on what is already recognised as a true design innovation to allow ice-going vessel operations in the harshest of environments. It is distinguished by its inclusion of new technical solutions covering oil spill response. Formal launch coincides with the start of hull assembly work on the first vessel to be built to the ARC 100 concept for delivery to the Russian Ministry of Transport by early 2014.

U.S. Shipyards Fight to Return Icebreakers to Service

The Polar Sea heavy icebreaker that the U.S. Coast Guard plans to mothball is in excellent condition and could be returned to active service in two years, giving the government a decade or more to search for longer-term solutions, a  representative of America’s shipyards told Congress last week. The United States currently has no active heavy icebreakers and only one medium vessel to protect rapidly intensifying national security and economic interests in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Another Milestone for RRS Sir David Attenborough Build

Rolls-Royce is marking another milestone on the journey toward the completion of Britain’s new polar research vessel the RRS Sir David Attenborough being built by Merseyside shipyard Cammell Laird. The last of the vessel’s Bergen B33:45 engines/gensets have been craned into the ship’s hull at Cammell Laird ready to be connected to the RRS Sir David Attenborough’s Rolls-Royce propulsion system. The nine cylinder engines are carefully installed in three separate pieces. The first part of the nine cylinder engine to be craned into place was its double resilient foundation.

Photo credit: Wikimedia CCL

Russia to Set Up Northern Sea Route Naval Infrastructure

Russia will create several hubs along the Northern Sea Route to enforce security in the region. The Northern Sea Route stretches along Russia’s Arctic coast from Murmansk on the Barents Sea to the Bering Strait in the Far East. Russia will create several infrastructure hubs along the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic to be used as temporary stations for Russian warships and border guard vessels, according to Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev. The authorities have drafted…

Photo credit:antarctica.gov.au

Chinese Icebreaker Transits Northern Sea Route

The icebreaker 'Xuelong' made the Arctic Ocean passage from China through to Norwegian waters. The Chinese icebreaker completed the Arctic North-East Passage marking the first such voyage by a Chinese vessel and opening an Arctic route connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic for future Chinese science expeditions. In completing the voyage, the icebreaker Xuelong or Snow Dragon channeled through five marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean: the Chukchi Sea, the East Siberian Sea, the Laptev Sea, the Kaka Sea and the Barents Sea.

Arctic Row Team Member: Photo credit Arctic Row

Arctic 1,000-mile Rowing Boat Trip Ends

The 4-man American team 'Arctic Row' complete their epic voyage spanning Beaufort and Chucki Seas from Inuvik, Canada to Point Hope, Alaska. The team completed their journey at 1:46pm local time on Sunday, August 26th, 2012, having rowed more than 1,000 miles from Inuvik, Canada to Point Hope, AK over a period of 41 days. First Non-icerated boat past Barrow in 2012
-First non-stop and unsupported international row over 1000 miles in Arctic waters. First ocean row in the arctic to combine human power exploration and marine science.

Arctic Oil Exploration to be Stepped Up by Statoil

Statoil will drill nine wells during a non-stop 2013 Norwegian Barents exploration campaign. The company plans to meet development challenges here by tripling its Arctic technology research budget. Statoil's exploration experience in the Barents is already extensive. Of the 94 exploration wells drilled in the Norwegian Barents Sea so far, Statoil has been involved in 89. Nine more Statoil-operated wells are on their way here next year. "After our Skrugard and Havis discoveries we still see attractive opportunities here," says Statoil Exploration executive vice president Tim Dodson.

Stakeholders Discuss Use of HFO in the Arctic

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) held a public listening session in Washington D.C. on September 27, 2016 to address ships’ use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic, examining its risks and as well as potential mitigation strategies which can be taken to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The event was held in the Department of Transportation building, where Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, Sr., Maritime Administrator for the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), welcomed participants.

Halt Arctic Oil Drilling Urges UK Parliamentary Committee

The Environmental Audit Committee has published the report of its inquiry into Protecting the Arctic. "The oil companies should come clean and admit that dealing with an oil spill in the icy extremes of the Arctic would be exceptionally difficult. The infrastructure to mount a big clean-up operation is simply not in place and conventional oil spill response techniques have not been proven to work in such severe conditions. Drilling is only currently feasible in the Arctic during a short summer window when it is relatively ice-free.

Maersk Aspires to Arctic Year-round Drilling

Mærsk's oil drilling subsidiary is investing heavily in Arctic-ready drilling rigs, a move that is concerning environmental organisations. According to 'The Copenhagen Post' Maersk Drilling is going to be a key player in opening the Arctic to oil exploration by developing rigs that can drill for oil year-round under extreme conditions. Maersk Drilling belongs to the A.P. Moller Maersk group which also has an oil company, Maersk Oil. But while Maersk Drilling has taken out patents for technology that would allow them to drill in the Arctic…

Photo: IMO

IMO Moves toward Phase out of HFO in the Arctic

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC70) meeting brought progress by member countries toward a phase out of the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by vessels operating in the Arctic. Heavy fuel oil (HFO) breaks down extremely slowly in cold Arctic waters and is very difficult clean up in the event of a spill. While HFO powers some 44 percent of the ships currently operating in the Arctic, it accounts for more than 75 percent of the fuel onboard those ships, according to ICCT figures.

'Oil Spills in Arctic Waters' Published by US ARC

The US Arctic Research Council (ARC) in association with others, reports on research & mitigation measures for oil spills in the Arctic marine area. This “white paper” is a compilation of research on oil spills in ice-covered Arctic waters and recommendations for future work. ARC identify research entities in governmental, nongov- ernmental, industrial, and private organizations, and provide an inventory of research projects. (3) the fate of oil and its effects on the environment.

DNV Launch Arctic Offshore Structure Design Framework

DNV with key industry players develop an enhanced design framework for structures deployed in open water & harsh areas. In order to ensure a common, transparent and documented approach to achieving acceptable safety levels for offshore structures in cold-climate regions, a DNV-led joint industry project (JIP), ICESTRUCT, has since 2009 worked to develop a designer-friendly and reliable framework based on the ISO 19906 Arctic Offshore Structure standard. Per Olav Moslet, Arctic…

Arctic Shipping Future: ICS Sets Out Its Position

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), representing + 80% of the world merchant fleet, issues a new position paper on Arctic shipping. As the Arctic becomes more accessible, ICS has set out some key principles with regard to the future governance of Arctic waters. Offshore support vessel activity is already significant, while destination shipping is anticipated to grow as the extraction of energy and raw materials is developed. Use of the Northern Sea Route is also a reality for a small but increasing number of ships in the summer months.

Shell's Arctic Operations: US Government Launches Probe

Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salaza, launches review of the 2012 offshore drilling program in the Beaufort & Chukchi Seas. The expedited, high-level assessment of the 2012 offshore drilling program in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas is to review practices and identify challenges as well as lessons learned. The review, which is expected to be completed within 60 days, will pay special attention to challenges that Shell encountered in connection with certification of its containment vessel…