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Bárðarbunga - updated information
Other News
Written by Federica   
Friday, 29 August 2014 10:42

volcano status, 29.08.2014 (source: Icelandic Met Office) volcano status, 29.08.2014 (source: Icelandic Met Office) A fissure eruption started in Holuhraun, north of Dynjujökul around midnight. 

Seismic activity has decreased as a result of the pressure release, however a significant amount of earthquakes is still detected in the magma dike, between the eruption site and south to about 5 km into Dyngjujökull.
Strongest events were 3.8 in the caldera of Bárðarbunga at 04:37, as well as 2.9 at 05:39 and 3.5 at 06:38 in the dike. These earthquake are very closely monitored, but no significant change volcanic activity following these has been observed so far.

The color aviation code for Bárðarbunga was raised to red (eruption is imminent or in progress - significant emission of ash into atmosphere likely) during the night, and brought back to orange (Volcano shows heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption)  this morning. In the meanwhile, Askja volcano (roughtly 50 km NE of  Bárðarbunga) has switched from green (Volcano is in typical background, non-eruptive state) to yellow (Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level). 

 

Sorce: IMO

 

You can wacth the eruption here.

 
Arctic Economic Council to be established
Other News
Written by Federica   
Thursday, 28 August 2014 09:10

 View of Iqaluit (source: wikipedia) View of Iqaluit (source: wikipedia) The founding meeting of the Arctic Economic Council (AEC), an new independent body of the Arctic Council, aiming at working to foster sustainable development, including economic growth, environmental protection and social development in the Arctic,  has been scheduled on September 2-3 2014, in Iqaluit, Nunavut(Canada). As an independent body, the AEC will decide on its membership, roles and responsibilities, governance, structure, and activities, while ensuring strong participation from indigenous businesses. It may inform the work of the Arctic Council through the views of business.

 

The meeting is being arranged by Minister Leona Aglukkaq, the Chair of the Arctic Council, who set  AEC  as priority initiative of Canada's Arctic Council chairmanship (2013-2015), which is focused on development for the people of the North. At the last Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna, Sweden in May 2013, Ministers signed the Kiruna Declaration, which "[recognized] that Arctic economic endeavours are integral to sustainable development for peoples and communities in the region". They also agreed to establish a Task Force to Facilitate the Creation of a Circumpolar Business Forum.

Consistent with the Task Force's mandate, the Arctic states and Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations of the Arctic Council have worked together to facilitate the creation of this forum – called the Arctic Economic Council (AEC). 

 

Read more here.

Source: Arctic Council.

 

 

 

 

 
International Law and Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Development
Other News
Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 10:24

Cover of "Offshore Oil and Gas Development in the Arctic under International Law, Risk and responsability" (source:Brill.com)This coming December, international academic publishing house, Brill, will release Offshore Oil and Gas Development in the Arctic under International Law, Risk and Responsibility by Professor Rachael Lorna Johnstone of the University of Akureyri, Iceland.

Offshore Oil and Gas Development explores the international legal framework for hydrocarbon development in the marine Arctic. It presents an assessment of the careful balance between States' sovereign rights to their resources, their obligations to uphold the rights of Arctic inhabitants and their duty to prevent injury to other States. It examines the rights of indigenous and other Arctic populations, the precautionary approach, the environmental impact assessment and the duty to monitor offshore hydrocarbon activities. It also analyses the application of the international law of responsibility in the event that the State fails to meet its primary obligations and potential liability in the absence of a State's wrongful conduct.
Rachael Lorna Johnstone, S.J.D., M.A., LL.M., LL.B.(Hons) is Head of the Faculty of Law at the University of Akureyri, Iceland.

Offshore Oil and Gas Development in the Arctic under International Law, Risk and Responsibility can be purchased online. Further inquiries may be directed to the author at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
The Polar Regions in the Asian Century
Other News
Written by Federica   
Monday, 25 August 2014 09:32

Hobart (source: wikipedia)

The 7th Polar Law Symposium will be held on 29-31 October 2014, in Hobart, Tasmania (Australia. This will be the first time the event has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.


The symposium is hosted by the Insitute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) of the University of Tasmania, in collaboration with The Polar Law Institute (Akureyr), the University of Akureyri (UNAK), the Northen Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland) and the Arctic Law Thematic Network (UArctic).


Sessions topics for the 7th Polar Law Symposium include:

  • Asian interests in polar affairs
  • Polar economies and industry
  • Polar marine resources
  • Native peoples and human rights
  • The Antarctic Treaty system
  • Legal and political issues in the polar and marine environments
  • International law


The keynote presenter is Professor Akiho Shibata, Kobe University, Japan. Professor Shibata’s principal research interests are international law-making processes, international environmental law and the Antarctic Treaty System. He served as a Legal Consultant of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2001 to 2011 and participated in several environmental treaty negotiations as a member of the Japanese delegation.


The proceedings will be published as the Yearbook of Polar Law (Nijhoff)

 
Not ready for Arctic shipping, insurers say
Shipping News
Written by Federica   
Friday, 22 August 2014 09:10

(Source: Gettyimage)Few days ago Marsh LLC, a company for insurance broking and risk management based in New York, has released the paper "Arctic Shipping: Navigating the Risk and Opportunities".

The melting of sea ice, recent discoveries of oil and gas North of Alaska, Canada and around Greenland, and the potential financial and time savings, among other factors,  are making the Arctic routes increasingly appealing to the international marine transportation networks. On the other side, extreme climate weather, floating ice, thick fog, violent storms, vessels still too vulnerable to ice damage and machinery breakdown, crews not prepared enough for such conditions, and lack of infrastructures have made the Arctic routes way less appealing for marine insurance companies.

 

 

In the report, Marsh experts have considered many factors that considerably challenge insurers.  

First, some hull considerations. Despite the introduction of the Polar Ice Class for vessels (2007), many challenges remain, increasing the possibilities of grounding, machinery breakdowns, fire. Among them: 

·         Extreme cold cause engine problems

·         Reduced coverage of GPS and Galileo

·         Innacurate/limited charts and hydrographic surveys

·         Restricted visibility due to fog

Secondly, the experts analysed existing infrastructures along the Arctic Routes. Again, despite the efforts of the Polar Ice Class code and proposed Polar Code, the paper considers that if a vessels does suffer an accident, there are serious concerns over the distance to adequate salvages services or repair facilities, especially in the eastern part of the NSR. 

In addition, wreak removal could prove extremely costly (if at all possible), if crew members are injured or become ill, hospitalization could be a major challenge due to the remoteness of the Arctic routes, and the risk of pollution is very high. In fact., the risk of pollution in the Arctic is perhaps the greatest concern for P&I insurers, as oil reacts differently in cold temperatures where it is less responsive to chemical dispersants, and, considering that for large periods of the year it is almost constantly dark in the region, it is difficult, even by air, to spot and locate pollutants. 

Marsh experts concluded: 

As things currently stand, the majority of ships and their crews are not ready, the support service facilities are not in place, and the risks involved are not understood at a level to enable underwriters to price insurance for Arctic transit with either clarity or certainty. Use of the NSR accounts for a comparatively small percentage of the total global marine transport activity, and to date the NWP has only been used by a few vessels. Nevertheless, these levels appear set to increase significantly over the coming years, especially with discoveries of huge mineral resources in the north of Russia, extending out into the Arctic Ocean, Kara, Pechora, Laptev, and East Siberian Seas. Add to this the increasing finds of oil and gas deposits north of Alaska, Canada, and around Greenland, and it is perhaps inevitable that hull and P&I insurers will be more frequently asked to consider allowing vessels to navigate the northern waters. However, underwriters’ concerns surrounding remoteness, lack of salvage support services, and other risks means that it is by no means certain that they will accommodate such requests. If and when they do, such negotiations will need to be handled carefully by those who have been studying and engaged in the issues of this region for some time already. 

 

Read more at Marsh

 

 
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