The Unexpected Opportunities of Global Warming

If you are one of the few holdouts that refuse to believe the earth’s climate has changed in the recent past, take a look at the arctic. The Polar Regions contain strong visual evidence to support the idea that the earths average temperature has risen by 1°C since 1880. The thickness and extent of the polar ice sheets are becoming significantly smaller. You don’t need to be a climatologist to observe the latest satellite imagery to see the obvious decline in ice sheet coverage.

Arctic Shipping Routes
Arctic Shipping Routes

Consequence

  • Routing a ship through the Northwest Passage (NWP) requires insurance. There are many dangers ships encounter while sailing through the passage. These include: icebergs, channel depths, whale migration patterns, environmental impacts. Insurance can increase up to 30%.
  • Sailing the Northwest passage can save traders both time and potential revenue. Navigating from western Asia to the eastern U.S. requires passage through the Panama Canal. The canal has a depth limitation so bulk cargo ships can not utilize the full potential of their ships carrying capacity. Moreover since the canal is located in Central America, the distance saved using the NWP is significant.
  • In September 2014, the MV Nunavik sailed unaccompanied through the NWP becoming the first ship to do so. Check out the detailed blog kept by the ships crew: http://www.fednav.com/en/voyage-nunavik
  • Even though the Northwest Passage is entirely within the territorial waters of Canada, the U.S. and various European countries maintain they are an international strait and transit passage, allowing free and unencumbered passage.

 

 

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