Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA)

AMSA 2009 ReportThe Arctic is undergoing extraordinary transformations early in the 21st century. Natural resource development, governance challenges, climate change and marine infrastructure issues are influencing current and future marine uses of the Arctic. Increased economic activity together with the current retreat of Arctic sea ice presents several plausible futures for the Arctic's regional seas, the Northern Sea Route, the Northwest Passage, and the central Arctic Ocean. Continued sea ice reductions will likely lengthen the navigation season in all regions and increase marine access to the Arctic's natural resources.
 
These changes represent both a challenge and an opportunity for governments and local Arctic communities. Of key significance are the effects of expanded marine activities on the cultures and well-being of Arctic populations, especially indigenous residents whose traditional way of life has been partially protected in the past by the very nature of the remote and extreme Arctic environment in which they live.

The Arctic Council, recognizing these critical changes and issues, at the November 2004 Ministerial meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, called for the Council's Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) working group to "conduct a comprehensive Arctic marine shipping assessment as outlined under the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan (AMSP) under the guidance of Canada, Finland and the United States as lead countries and in collaboration with the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) working group and the Permanent Participants as relevant."

The Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment, or The AMSA 2009 Report, was approved at the 2009 Ministerial meeting in Tromsø. 

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The AMSA Recommendations

The focus of the AMSA is marine safety and marine environmental protection, which is consistent with the Arctic Council’s mandates of environmental protection and sustainable development. Based on the findings of the AMSA, recommendations were developed to provide a guide for future action by the Arctic Council, Arctic states and many others.

Arctic Ministers approved the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) Report and its 17 Recommendations at the 2009 Tromsø
Ministerial Meeting. The Recommendations – which continue to guide PAME’s shipping-related work – have now been updated to
reflect progress, developments, and changes since first being released.

The AMSA recommendations are presented under three broad, inter-related themes that are fundamental to understanding the AMSA:

I: ENHANCING ARCTIC MARINE SAFETY
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I(A) LINKING WITH INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

“That the Arctic states decide, on a case by case base, to continue to identify areas of common interest and develop unified positions and approaches with respect to international and regional bodies organizations such as the IMO, IHO, WMO and IMSO with recognized competence, to promote and advance safe, secure, environmentally sound and sustainable Arctic marine shipping; and encourage meetings, as appropriate of member state national maritime safety organizations to coordinate, harmonize and enhance the implementation of the Arctic maritime regulatory framework.”

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I(B) IMO MEASURES FOR ARCTIC SHIPPING

“That the Arctic states, in recognition of the unique environmental and navigational conditions in the Arctic, decide to continue to cooperatively support efforts at the IMO to strengthen, harmonize and regularly update international standards for vessels operating in the Arctic. These efforts include: Support the updating and augmenting of global IMO ship safety and pollution prevention instruments with specific mandatory requirements or other provisions for ship construction, design, equipment, communications, crewing, training and operations, aimed at safety and environmental protection; develop consensus recommendations at the regional level to support global measures adopted by IMO; and report periodically regarding such efforts.”

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I(C) UNIFORMITY OF ARCTIC SHIPPING GOVERNANCE

“That the Arctic states should encourage broad subscription to IMO instruments and their uniform implementation, in particular as they relate to safe, secure, and environmentally sound and sustainable Arctic shipping, consistent with UNCLOS, and where possible to strengthen efforts to harmonize implementation and enforcement.“

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I(D) STRENGTHENING PASSENGER SHIP SAFETY IN ARCTIC WATERS

“That the Arctic states should strongly encourage cruise ship operators to apply international rules and standards adopted by the IMO as well as to continue to develop implement and share their own best practices for operating in such conditions, including consideration of measures to further strengthen ship safety and environmental sustainability.”

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I(E) ARCTIC SEARCH AND RESCUE (SAR) AGREEMENT

“That the Arctic states should actively cooperate in operationalizing the agreement on cooperation on aeronautical and maritime search and rescue in the Arctic, 2011, and in maintaining a state of readiness to respond to emergencies.”

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II. PROTECTING ARCTIC PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
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II(A) SURVEY OF ARCTIC INDIGENOUS MARINE USE

“That the Arctic states should consider conducting surveys on Arctic marine use by the indigenous communities where gaps are identified to collect information for establishing up-to-date baseline data to assess the impacts from Arctic shipping activities.”

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II(B) ENGAGEMENT WITH ARCTIC COMMUNITIES

"That the Arctic states decide to determine if effective communication mechanisms exist to ensure engagement of their Arctic coastal and indigenous communities and, where there are none, to develop their own mechanisms to engage and coordinate with the shipping industry, relevant economic activities and Arctic communities (in particular during the planning phase of a new marine activity) to increase benefits and help reduce the impacts from shipping.”

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II(C) AREAS OF HEIGHTENED ECOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

“That the Arctic states should, taking into account the special characteristics of the Arctic marine environment should identify areas of heightened ecological and cultural significance in light of changing climate conditions and increasing multiple marine use and, where appropriate, should encourage adoption by relevant bodies with recognized competence implementation of measures relating to these areas of heightened ecological or cultural significance that merit protection from the impacts of Arctic marine shipping, in coordination with all stakeholders and consistent with international law.”

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II(D) SPECIALLY DESIGNATED ARCTIC MARINE AREAS

“That the Arctic states should, taking into account the special characteristics of the Arctic marine environment, continue to explore the need for and feasibility of internationally designated areas for the purpose of environmental protection in regions of the Arctic Ocean.”

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II(E) PROTECTION FROM INVASIVE SPECIES

“That the Arctic states should continue to implement the IMO International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments in a timely and effective manner. Arctic states should also assess the risk of introducing invasive species through ballast water biofouling and other means so that they can implement adequate prevention measures can be implemented in waters under their respective jurisdictions.”

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II(F) OIL SPILL PREVENTION

“That the Arctic states decide to enhance the mutual cooperation in the field of oil spill prevention and, in collaboration with industry, support research and technology transfer to prevent release of oil into Arctic waters, since prevention of oil spills is the highest priority in the Arctic for environmental protection.”

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II(G) ADDRESSING IMPACTS ON MARINE MAMMALS, SEABIRDS, FISH AND OTHER MARINE LIFE

“That the Arctic states decide to engage with relevant international bodies to further assess the effects on marine mammals due to ship noise, disturbance and strikes in Arctic waters; and consider, where needed, to work with the IMO and other competent international and regional bodies such as IWC and NAMMCO in developing and implementing mitigation strategies.”

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II(H) REDUCING AIR EMISSIONS

“That the Arctic states continue to support IMO efforts to address air emissions from ships as well as the development of improved practices and innovative technologies for ships in port and at sea to help reduce current and future emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) Sulfur Oxides (SOx) and Black Carbon and other Particulate Matter (PM).

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III. BUILDING THE ARCTIC MARINE INFRASTRUCTURE
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III(A) ADDRESSING THE INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICIT

“That the Arctic states should continue to recognize that improvements in Arctic marine infrastructure are needed to enhance safety and environmental protection in support of sustainable development. Examples of infrastructure where critical improvements remain neccesery include: ice navigation training; navigational charts; communications systems; aids to navigation, port services, including reception facilities for ship-generated waste; accurate and timely ice information (ice centers); meteorological forecasts;
places of refuge; and icebreakers to assist in response.”

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II(B) ARCTIC MARINE TRAFFIC SYSTEM

“That the Arctic states should support continued development of a comprehensive Arctic marine traffic awareness system to improve monitoring and tracking of marine activity, to enhance data sharing, and to augment vessel management service in order to reduce the risk of incidents, facilitate emergency response and provide awareness of potential user conflict. The Arctic states should encourage shipping companies and other maritime stakeholders to cooperate in the improvement and development of national monitoring systems.”

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III(C) CIRCUMPOLAR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSE CAPACITY

“That the Arctic States decide to continue to develop and strengthen circumpolar environmental pollution response capabilities that are critical to protecting the unique Arctic ecosystem. This can be accomplished, for example, through effective implementation and operationalization of the agreement on cooperation on marine oil pollution and Response, 2013, additional circumpolar cooperation and agreement(s), as well as regional bilateral capacity agreements.”

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III(D) INVESTING IN HYDROGRAPHIC, METEOROLOGICAL AND OCEANOGRAPHIC DATA

“That the Arctic states should continue to improve, where appropriate, the level of and access to data and information in support of safe and environmentally responsible navigation and voyage planning in Arctic waters. This would entail sustaining and continuing to increase efforts for: hydrographic surveys to bring Arctic navigation charts up to a level acceptable to support current and future safe, and environmentally responsible navigation; obtaining hydrographic data where appropriate from industry and other sources such as crowdsourced bathymetry; and systems to support and improve the timely acquisition, analysis and transfer of meteorological, oceanographic, sea ice and iceberg observations to meteorological centers.”

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