Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 394

394 Arctic Yearbook 2015 invasive species further complicates survival for Arctic species and the whole food web built on the marine environment from tiny plankton to 100 tonne bowhead whales. All of these omissions could still be considered in Step 2 of the Polar Code if the political will to do so exists. However, they will require backing by Parties to IMO. NGOs can take part in negotiations and make proposals, but need state support to take them further. Those Arctic Council states which are “port/coastal states” that is, the territories that would be most directly affected by shipping regulations, have an obvious interest in protecting their environments. Several other states influential at the IMO, such as China, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United Kingdom are also Arctic Council Observer states. In their applications to become members of the Council, and their subsequent justifications for their inclusion as Council observers, these states commonly stress their interests in preserving the Arctic environment. The Council itself is explicit in its expectations of Observers. One of the criteria for admission as an Observer is, “Have demonstrated a concrete interest and ability to support the work of the Arctic Council, including through partnerships with member states and Permanent Participants bringing Arctic concerns to global decision making bodies.” There are other options to addressing some of these issues. The first is unilateral regulation within the exclusive economic zones of Arctic states (out to 200 nautical miles). This is where most shipping in the Arctic takes place. For instance, Canada is considered to have stringent rules governing shipping in its Arctic waters. The Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act has a zero discharge pollution policy, the Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System categorizes vessels according to their ability to handle different ice conditions, and the Zone/Date System defines opening and closing dates for entry and exit into the Canadian Arctic for various classes of ships. There are also international instruments other than the Polar Code that deal with some of the wider environmental issues tied to shipping. For example a ban on the use of HFO (or a phasing out) could be accomplished via an amendment to MARPOL Annex I, Chapter 9, Regulation 43 rather than tied to revision of the Polar Code. Another suggested alternative is to establish Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) in the Arctic. As noted in a recent report, establishment of these areas can provide rules to protect the most vulnerable or important places in the offshore Arctic. “PSSAs can provide additional protection through measures that may reduce the likelihood and consequences of accidents (acute pollution), in addition to measures that targets operational emissions and discharges.” PSSA measures might also include restrictions on use/carriage of HFO. However the regulation of the Arctic marine sector is accomplished, it should be implemented without delay, and the Polar Code is one instrument to accomplish that, as it is an already established umbrella process to address polar shipping issues. We look to the Arctic states, together with the Arctic Council Observer states to plainly state their intention to bolster the code, and close the remaining governance gaps in Arctic shipping. We also recommend the regular review of the Code’s provisions, considering the rapidly changing Arctic marine environment. Getting Arctic Shipping Back on Course