Maritime activity in the high north - The range of unwanted incidents and risk patterns
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionProceedings - International Conference on Port and Ocean Engineering under Arctic Conditions 2015
Growing commercial activities in the High North increase the possibility of unwanted incidents. The vulnerability related to human safety, environment, and installations or vessels, and a challenging context, call for strengthening of the preparedness system, and cross-boundary and cross-institutional collaboration. The commercial activity in the High North includes intra- and inter-regional transportation, the search for and exploitation of hydrocarbons and other mineral resources, the fisheries, and cruise tourism. In addition, in the High North we find government activity such as research and naval operations. Activities in the Arctic are challenged by limited infrastructure, low temperatures with ice and icing, polar lows, and a fragile nature. In this paper we look into different stressors and risk factors in the High North related to life and environment. A discussion of risk is important for decisions about operational demands and the development of an adequate preparedness system. High North is here defined as the circumpolar Arctic, delineated by the Arctic Circle. In the paper and presentation we will focus on the Atlantic Sector of the Arctic. The main operational risk factors faced include geographical remoteness, climate-change related aspects and weather, electronic communications challenges, sea ice, lack of precise maps or hydrographic and meteorological data. Activity and probability of accidents differs in different parts of the Arctic. An overview of maritime activity and risk assessment are given in the paper. Implications for the preparedness systems are discussed.