Tromsø, Norway – The world is responding to the opportunities of a “new ocean” as Arctic sea ice changes and global shipping increases the value of Arctic resources.
Alaskan state Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell this week gave an Alaskan perspective on what it takes to be ready, speaking at the “Arctic Frontiers” conference in Tromsø, Norway. He was joined by over 1,000 participants, including politicians, industry representatives, decision-makers, and leading scientists from around the world.
“This is the age of Arctic shipping the great explorers dreamed of. We’ve been given a new ocean of possibilities – and dangers – and we need to do everything we can to prepare for both,” Lt. Gov. Treadwell said.
In his remarks, “Safe, secure and reliable at sea: the geopolitics of a new ocean,” the lieutenant governor called for contingency planning requirements for itinerant Arctic shipping. Treadwell applauded Alaska’s ongoing work towards safe shipping, including oil spill prevention and response agreements and calling for voluntary contingency planning. (You can read Treadwell’s full speech HERE)
Treadwell proposed working more closely with other Arctic nations on vessel routing and reciprocal port regulations.
“Arctic nations need to engage much more deeply on a strategic plan to realize the economic benefits of Arctic shipping. I look at the model of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which brings Canada and the U.S. together to provide both safety of navigation and market promotion, and it has worked for almost a century.”
In addition to preparations for safety and security, the lieutenant governor said that Alaskans see major opportunities from marine shipping. Lower costs and increased access to energy, greater export value for natural and value-added resources, and new jobs and investment opportunities could benefit the lives of Alaskans.
“We know it’s not just about oil spill response,” Treadwell said. “It’s about healthy operations at all times. It’s about making sure new ocean activity keeps the small boats, the sealers, the whalers, the fishermen in mind. It’s about the lives of people in our coastal communities.”