350 km above the Arctic Circle, in Tromsø, Norway, industry, government, and academic leaders met for Cooperation 66° North. The forum, designed to foster communication, build confidence, and transfer knowledge on Arctic maritime and offshore affairs was co-supported by the Norwegian Barents Secretariat and the US Embassy Oslo. It was hosted partly by UiT- the Arctic University of Norway’s K.G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea, and partly aboard Hurtigruten’s MS Trollfjord, one of the company’s flagship Arctic-going coastal steamers. INTSOK – Norwegian Oil and Gas Partners – was a supporting stakeholder.
The forum included presentations from leading academics, industry practitioners and solutions providers, as well as working-group sessions on both maritime-offshore industries and political-security affairs. Of course, social activities and networking opportunities were enjoyed by all.
Presentations from BarentsWatch, SARiNOR, and NORUT focused on emerging technologies to aid in safe and compliant Arctic operations as well as enhance Search and Rescue capabilities in the High North. Representatives from INTSOK, Tactique, and the Arctic Security Initiative of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution presented on Arctic offshore and security challenges and legal regimes.
Aboard the MS Trollfjord, participants heard a presentation about Hurtigruten’s long history of Arctic operations, focusing on the company’s expertise in Arctic passenger shipping. They received a ship-visit and discussion with the Captain, concluding the day with a seminar series on safety, legal, and insurance considerations for Northern Sea Route shipping taught by experts from the University Centre Svalbard, UiT, and NORUT.
Program co-organizers Simon Williams and Natalia Ergina indicated the engagement as a success. “We are pleased with the high caliber of the program delegates, their involvement in the subject matter and the successful cross-border, multinational cooperation spawned. This embodies the intended spirit of the engagement, and surpassed program objectives.”
Participants came from all Arctic coastal states plus the UK, Japan, and Austria. This engagement was the first in a series of the organizers’ projects designed to enhance competence in maritime operations and knowledge while reinforcing multinational cooperation in the High North.