Sustainable Arctic Sea Routes in a
Rapidly Changing Environment
Considering the environmental changes taking place in the Arctic Ocean, the use of Arctic sea routes (Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage) is expected to increase, and the passage of ships with low ice classes and large vessels is predicted to rise.
Meanwhile, it has been suggested that waves will be likely to penetrate deeper into drift ice fields, disrupting passage, and that hard ice pieces from multi-year ice and glaciers may drift into sea routes.
In order to conserve the Arctic Ocean environment and ensure sustainable use of the sea routes in these circumstances, the provision of sea route ice information in order to support safe passage, science-based rather than experience-based evaluation of vessel performance and safety, and accident response will become more critical than ever.
In addition, methods to enable the economic selection of passages and operating vessels are required, with safety soundly assured.
In this Research Program, we will aim to construct methods to support shipping operations in the near future in light of environmental changes in the Arctic Ocean.
Specifically, in addition to the ice condition information we currently provide, we will establish the following three sub-programs:
- development of methods to generate sea ice information to support ship navigation, including information on sea ice thickness and deformed ice,
- performance (speed and fuel consumption) and safety evaluation of a ship based on scientific methods, and
- impact assessment of and countermeasures for oil spill accidents, which are a particular environmental risk.
We will also focus on the economic aspects when the above are taken into account and evaluate the economy of Arctic Sea Routes in the near future, as well as the ripple effect on society.