Trans-Arctic shipping and the tragedy of the polar ice cap

The Arctic sea ice is melting. Areas that previously have been covered with ice are opening up, facilitating increased access for ship traffic in the Arctic Ocean. How can the need for preservation of the vulnerable Arctic environment meet the world's need for trade and transport?

The continuing decrease of Arctic sea ice is gradually creating new trans-Arctic shipping routes, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It may even be possible to cross the North Pole on voyages between the west and the east within 2030.

"Our knowledge of how the Arctic marine ecosystems will respond to influence caused by increased human activity and maritime traffic is limited", Yngvil Marie Erichsen says.

She is a PhD student at the Faculty of Law, University of Bergen.

Erichsen is currently working on a project named “Arctic Shipping: Climate Change and Legal Challenges.” The aim of the project is to explore the legal challenges related to increased commercial traffic in the Arctic Ocean, with special focus on environmental concerns.

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