Beyond the Polar Code: Enhancing Seafarer Safety along the Northern Sea Route
3 (11) Journal of the Siberian Federal University, pp. 365-373, 2018
Posted: 26 Dec 2019
Date Written: January 15, 2018
Climate change is opening new sea routes in the Arctic Ocean. The Northern Sea Route (NSR), along Russia's Arctic shore, is particularly important in this regard. While in recent weeks some shipping companies have pledged to refrain from shipping through the Arctic, due to the environmental risks associated with doing so (and likely also due to limited profitability), the NSR is of crucial importance for the development of the Russian economy in the Arctic, in particular for the export of hydrocarbons to China. Therefore ship operations in the NSR will continue to be relevant for the foreseeable future. A reduction of sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean as a result of climate change, however, does not necessarily mean that ship operations are without risk. The Polar Code was designed to tackle some of these dangers, but improving seafarer safety requires more. This article aims at raising awareness of both the dangers of Arctic ship operations and the legal tools available to enhance safety in the region.
Keywords: Arctic, Safety, Russia, Northern Sea Route, Shipping
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation