Commercial Vessel Compliance

4/23/2015: Developments in the Arctic

Last week, the American Waterway Operators held their 2015 spring convention in Washington, D.C.

Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Paul Zukunft was the keynote speaker. Zukunft remarks focused on Transnational Criminal Networks, developments in the Arctic, cybersecurity and the American energy renaissance.

For those of you who were unable to attend, Maritime Commons is providing a condensed version of the Commandant’s remarks from the convention in a four-part series.

Subscribe and stay tuned!

Delivered by Adm. Paul Zukunft

Developments in the Arctic

Shifting to the far North and far South, the Coast Guard remains present in both polar regions. As you might imagine, energy intersects this discussion as well.

Particularly in the Arctic, we are seeing huge growth in exploration, eco-tourism, and of course, great interest in natural resources. It is predicted that 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered gas, 13 percent of the world’s untapped oil and one-trillion dollars in minerals, are beneath the Arctic seafloor.

We are closely monitoring industry desires to begin drilling as soon as this summer.

This area creates another investment need for the Coast Guard – our ice breaking capability.

Consider this; while the United States has two oceangoing ice breakers. The Russians have a fleet of 27. That’s 27 ice breakers in a nation with one-eighth of our gross domestic product. In fact, our fleet is roughly similar in size and tonnage to the Chinese fleet, and they’re already building more. So, we are at risk for falling behind.

Unimpeded access and sustained presence, while operating in the Arctic, are vital to meet the needs of the United States Arctic Strategy. As vast new areas of ocean begin to open, Coast Guard authorities mandate our presence wherever U.S. national interests require people and ships to operate.

It is important to note that the funding to recapitalize our ice breakers must be in addition to our overall acquisition budget while preserving our acquisition program of record for the Offshore Patrol Cutter and our fleet of Fast Response Cutters. The Safety and Security of U.S. maritime interests depend on it.

To meet the challenges of changing climate and polar operations the Coast Guard will:

• Continue to advocate for national icebreaking capability to ensure access to polar regions.
• Continue to support and advocate for United States accession to the Law of the Sea Convention.
• The Coast Guard will continue to invest in partnerships to include all Arctic nations – including Russia.

In addition to this post, be sure to read the other three posts from the American Waterway Operators spring convention.

Part 1: Transnational Criminal Organizations
Part 2: American Energy Renaissance
Part 3: Cybersecurity
Part 4: Developments in the Arctic

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.