Arctic Council Launches Shipping Database

Published Feb 9, 2019 5:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Arctic Council’s Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) has launched a comprehensive Arctic shipping activity database. 

The launch is a significant milestone in PAME’s work to improve knowledge of historical Arctic ship traffic activity and the factors that affect it, such as sea ice extent, meteorological and oceanographic conditions and international regulations. The database is designed to allow authorized users to analyze vessel traffic patterns, fuel use and air emissions, among other economic and environmental conditions.

The database includes archived information from 2005 to 2018 and will be updated regularly. Information contained in the database includes:

Number of ships in the Arctic, distances sailed and hours operated
Location of ships, ship routes and ship speed
Ship types, including size and flag
Pollution measurements from ships, including CO2 emissions
Other environmental information such as sea ice extent

Access to the database, which may be used only for non-commercial purposes, is available to all Arctic Council members, accredited academic institutions and other recognized research entities.

Public Web Portal Supports Polar Code

In May last year, the Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum launched a public Web Portal to assist in the effective implementation of the IMO's Polar Code. The Web Portal, accessible at www.arcticshippingforum.is, provides links to authoritative information essential to implementation of and compliance with the Polar Code. For example, links are available on hydrographic, meteorological and ice data information needed to plan for safe and environmentally sound navigation in the Arctic.

The Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum was established in 2017 by the eight Arctic States (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S.) to help raise awareness and to promote the effective implementation of the Polar Code.